Heartfelt Hyperbole

It’s been proven time and again in this blog that I’m several years behind trends. Don’t feel sorry for me. I get to luxuriate in that fresh, new, exciting, trendy feeling even years later, simply because, while my discovery may not be new to you, it’s still new to me. Just pretend I’m in a different time zone; one of my own making.

If you have to feel sorry for someone, feel sorry for yourself, dear reader, because you get to hear me rave about something that you’re most likely already over. Think of it as the penance you do to read my other, more current stuff. Am I asking too much, here?


This discovery came about because I was massaging my own ego. I was honored to hear that four copies of my book are now in the King County Library System, scattered in branches all around the Seattle area. Holy cow! I have a call number! Just call me 814.6 ABE.

So I couldn’t resist. I had to see what authors I was sharing my shelf with.


Omigod. Calvin Trillin? Rebecca Solnit? Seriously? I wanted to shout, right there in the library. But I resisted the urge. (I did tell the librarian at the checkout counter, but she seemed unimpressed by the enormity of it all. Buzz kill.)

But I thought that the best way to honor the event was to choose a book on my shelf (my shelf!!!) to read. So I chose Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. (Hence, the unsatisfying encounter with the checkout librarian.)

So here goes trendy me, discovering the most amazing book from 2013. I mean seriously, if you are as out of the loop as I am and you haven’t read it, do so. Right this minute. You can finish it in one sitting if you’re motivated. You’ll thank me.

Allie Brosh has the most amazing literary voice. I constantly found myself laughing in sympathy. I understand her. I suspect a lot more people do than would care to admit it. She has humorous angst down to a science.

Her spot-on description of chronic depression and how people react to it is quite the revelation. She talks about feeling nothing as if feelings are dead fish. And people are trying to help her by saying they’ll help her look for them. But she knows where they are. They’re right here. They’re just dead.

I get that. I have felt that way on and off for much of my life. Trying to help someone “snap out of it” doesn’t work. Trying to cheer someone up doesn’t work. But after reading Allie’s description of depression, I know what I will say to the next depressed friend I have.

I get it. I’ve been there. It feels like nothing matters. It feels blank. You don’t care, even though you want to. But here’s the thing: somewhere, deep down, underneath that wet wool blanket of utter despair, you still care just enough to stay alive in that bleak, painful wasteland that you find yourself in. You care enough about the people who love you to not want to hurt them by taking yourself out. That’s something. That’s huge, actually. It’s heroic. Hang on to that.

Hang on.

Since publishing this amazing book, Allie Brosh has dropped off the radar, depriving us of her amazing talent. But that’s her prerogative. If she wants to be left alone, so be it. But Allie, I hope you’ll hang on. I think you are a wonderful addition to this planet. Just sayin’.

4 thoughts on “Heartfelt Hyperbole

  1. It is a wonderful idea that you thought of seeking out the fellowship of 814.6 !!! I hope you will continue to explore this. One picky comment, though. The people at the check-out desk are technically not librarians; they are clerks. Some are more enthusiastic than others! Due to budget cuts some libraries don’t have an actual librarian on duty all of the time. Generally the librarian is found at a separate desk, not at the check-out.

    1. Oh! I didn’t realize that. I guess I’m so used to growing up in a small town where libraries often only had a single librarian and that was that, I carried my assumptions to the big city. Thanks, Valarie! And yes, I do plan to check out other shelf-mates. 🙂

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