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(Book Review) Solutions and Other Problems

I was starting to think Allie Brosh was a figment of my imagination.

I read her first book, Hyperbole and a Half in 2015.  I was not in a great headspace at the time, but I'd heard good thing about this new humorist and thought I would see what all the buzz was about.  I'd never encountered anything like that book, which was somewhere between a graphic novel and a collection of blog posts.  It had crude (i.e. rudimentary) graphics that were endearingly weird.  The accompanying stories included her family, random adventures with things like hot sauce, her battle with depression, and there were a lot of tales that featured dogs.  I was immediately hooked and was disappointed when the adventure was over.  All I could do was wait for her next book.

However, as the years went by, Brosh seemed to disappear from the world.  She had a website, but the updates became more sporadic, and Google searches turned up the same handful of short articles every time.  Who vanishes in the Internet age?  Maybe this was just a one-and-done, and she had moved on to other interests.  There was nothing to do but hope she'd grace us with her worldview again somewhere down the road.

Rumors of a second book eventually began to grow.  Sure enough, seven years after her best-selling debut, Allie Brosh is back with another trip to her world with Solutions and other Problems, which finally came out on September 22.  Brosh is fine form, as she again provides a reading experience like no other author.  Her readers are treated to 500+ pages and close to 1700 pictures, as she explores the issues of loneliness, depression, the meaning of life, and general weirdness.  (Yes, there are also plenty of dogs again.)  

The graphics are still primitive, and there's something about her characters that makes you want to give them all a hug, even if they're engaging in some seriously weird activities at times.  Actually, especially when they're engaging in some seriously weird activities, because embracing one's own weirdness is a central theme of the book.  The stories cover a lot of ground, and they all elicit a reaction of some sort.  It's not always immediately clear where a story is leading, but you won't feel apathetic about any of them.

Brosh touches on what happened to cause her disappearance, and that is a hard section to read.  She gives the reader fair warning of the storm ahead with a large "WELCOME TO THE SERIOUS PART" header, and she's not kidding.  No spoilers, but my heart broke during that portion, thinking about her pain and the pain of everyone else who has ever been in that situation.  It almost became too much to take in, but then we did a hard 180 as the next section about a sneaky dog had me convulsing in laughter with tears streaming down my cheeks.  That's what I consider to be the "Broshian experience." It's a roller coaster.  Grab on tight and get ready for the ride.

It's right that this book is over 500 pages long.  It gives you enough time to feel fully immersed in this world.  There's nothing quite like it, and without any spoilers, the final chapter is the perfect landing for the flight.  If you've ever dealt with loss, loneliness, depression, or a general sense of not belonging (i.e. you're a human being), you'll find something to relate to here.  Hopefully it won't be another seven years before Allie Brosh's next book, but I'm already looking forward to 2027 if necessary.   There's no doubt it will be worth the wait.

Highly recommended.


Solutions and Other Problems CoverWelcome back, Allie Brosh.  (pic via



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