I read this whole thing last night after I got home from work. My one complaint about it that I have right now is that hardcover is the wrong format for this book. My wrists hurt! It’s so heavy! I mean, it’s a beautiful book, but at points genuinely physically hard to read. I imagine if I had some sort of tablet or color Kindle that would be ideal. If you have arthritis or other hand/arm related mobility issues I feel this is a good thing to know.
But aside from that, this book is a work of art. I loved her first book, but it was a bit more disjointed than this one. This one, if you look hard enough, feels more united. There are 25 chapters, and though not all of them share subject matter, there is an overarching voice, and they all come together to paint a picture of Allie’s state of mind, how she’s changed, and what the meaning of it all is. Mostly the answer is nothing means anything, and everything is absurd.
I mentioned above that I went on an existential journey reading this, and I wasn’t (ha) being hyperbolic. That is a literal thing that is happening in this book. Brosh has been through a tough seven years, and though she’s stated in one of a couple of interviews she’s given promoting this book that the wait between books was just how long it took her to write it, I’m pretty sure this would be an entirely different book without the several life-changing experiences she went through (and which she talks about in the book, in a section labeled “The Serious Part”).
That’s not to say this is a bleak book. Even when she’s contemplating her mortality and the meaning of life, she still retains her humor. There are also some gut bustingly funny chapters in here that of course veer towards the absurd, but in a more joyful way. My favorite was “The Poop Mystery.” I was honestly laughing so hard at the end of it I started crying. (Don’t click this link unless you’ve read it. You’re welcome if you have.)
It’s also clear from some of the panels that her artistic style has evolved and matured a lot over the last several years. Some of the panels are beautiful, and some of them are so lovingly and absurdly rendered you can’t help but laugh even without the context of what’s going on.
As far as I’m concerned, she can take a decade to write the next book if she wants to, though I hope it comes much sooner than that. A+ would read again. (Will be reading several chapters again tonight when I get home.)