While comparatively a late comer to Allie’s work, I absolutely loved Hyperbole and a Half and anxiously awaited word on her highly anticipated follow up, Solutions and Other Problems. I am happy to report, this does not disappoint.
From the publisher marketing:
Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh’s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life.
This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features all-new material with more than 1,600 pieces of art. Solutions and Other Problems marks the return of a beloved American humorist who has “the observational skills of a scientist, the creativity of an artist, and the wit of a comedian” (Bill Gates).
After waiting for years for Solutions and Other Problems, and wondering if Allie herself was doing okay, I couldn’t believe it when it arrived at the store for me to read. Full of Allie’s signature illustrations and humor, it’s the book her fans have been waiting for, answering many questions about how her life has been since Hyperbole and a Half, and also full of all sorts of stories from her life as a whole, from childhood through elder-millennial-hood.
For those new to Allie’s work, you can certainly start with Solutions and Other Problems and still get to know her just as well as those of us who read Hyperbole and a Half all those years ago. I laughed out loud so hard I cried, and I teared up at the serious parts in the middle, the chapters where she recounts what happened when and after her sister died. Allie has delivered a book that will encourage you to cry out “me too!”, particularly when it comes to all instances relating to the small children she’s interacted with over the years.
It does always take me a bit of time to get into Allie’s art style, the cover is a pretty good indication of what you will find throughout. But even with single line drawings, she is able to convey great emotional depth and this simplicity highlights the feelings she is depicting. From loneliness and despair to annoyance and humor, her illustrations invoke empathy from each reader.
For those wondering if it’s as good as Hyperbole and a Half, it’s not. But that book is such a gem that I don’t believe she will every top it, or even match it. Solutions and Other Problems is, however, a spectacular book in it’s own right and it answered the big question we’ve all had: is Allie okay? And the answer is, not really, but she’s still here and writing about life, and we really can’t ask for any more than that.
Rating: 7 out of 10