I anticipated the release of the Allie Brosh's first "Hyperbole and a Half" book with great anticipation. And it was a while of anticipation, too: it took around a month before a copy became available from the library. Hyperbole and a Half's popularity seems to have translated into a great demand for the first book.
I was already a fan of Hyperbole and a Half, had read all of the entries of the blog, and so I mostly knew what I was getting when I started reading the book. One of the questions someone might ask before deciding to purchase the book is whether it has material available beyond what is already readable online. In both quantity and quality, it does. In fact, the topics and themes of the book have probably gone a long way towards eclipsing what made Hyperbole and a Half originally popular.
At least for me, the original appeal of the blog was in its combination of funny stories and random musings. One of the most memorable was "The Alot", the creature that could be imagined in place of the word "Alot". Some of the other stories seemed like typical funny coming-of-age stories, and stories of the frustration of young adulthood. Then, after her initial burst of publicity, Brosh disappeared for a while, and returned with a long post about depression. Hyperbole and a Half, once the most funny reading on the internet, begin to be references as a serious way to explain what depression and other negative states felt like. Many of the other stories took on a new light: her tales on procrastination, which I at first took as a funny look at how hectic life can be, became more of a story about "a flawed coping mechanism" for dealing with a life that seems incomprehensible. This book, then, is much more of a serious biography of Brosh and her trying to manage a world, and a self, that seem unmanageable. There are still a few new funny stories, such as the one about the goose that invaded her house, but most of the new material is about serious introspection. The lack of "Alot" and other such amusements hasn't seemed to disappoint her fanbase, who are just as enthused as ever.
Another interesting point about the book for me, and one that I can't draw too many conclusions about, is that for what amounts to a memoir of a woman coping with depression, there are very few of the stereotypical aspects of female depression present in it. At least in popular culture, much female depression is centered around romantic relationships, or issues of body image. Refreshingly, neither one of these is mentioned except for in passing in this book. It could be that this is due to Brosh being different that the average woman her age, but it could also be that women have problems not related to men, or their appearance, and part of Brosh's popularity amongst her readers is that she has acknowledged that.