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"Solutions and Other Problems", released in 2020, is the second book by Allie Brosh, who first rose to fame in 2010 with her blog, Hyperbole and a Half. Since releasing a book based on her blog in 2013, Brosh has released very little material. This book, in part, explains why.

"Solutions and other Problems", in some ways, continues her past work. It is short stories and vignettes, illustrated with Brosh's simple, skewed, but charming drawings. Many of the stories are simple cute slice of life stories about pets and growing up, but the book has a very serious center: it talks about Brosh's decade, which involved the death of her sister, her divorce, medical problems, and a continuing depression that has left her, in her own words, a recluse. As much as Brosh can still be very funny when she wants to be, but to me, this book hit a little close to home.

What struck me the most about the book was the shift between the easy relatability of Brosh's early works, and the deeply personal, sometimes disturbing nature of this book. The early Hyperbole and a Half came out at a time when social media was still developing, and the stories she told were things that could be shared and related to easily. You could quickly and easily share stories with friends about bad grammar, being proud of going to the grocery store, having problems with time management and how silly dogs are. Allie's "Do All The Things" drawing has even been adopted as an internet meme by people who might not know its original context. Even when she released her book in 2013, dealing with depression, it still seemed like the type of struggle a young woman in her 20s was bound to have. But this book leaves that behind: this is a deeply personal memoir about Allie coming to term with her self. While some of the stories are tales of childhood and youth that are common rites of passage, others show that Allie has always had a different way of looking at the world, sometimes in a disturbing way, such as when she stalked an older neighbor as a young child, prowling into his house and stealing his things. As an adult, she goes on what is an intentionally frightening drug trip, only to stumble home and have an early morning conversation with a neighborhood child. (This story also made me realize how truly different that experience would be for me). Despite Allie being charming and attractive, some of her behavior seems borderline enough that it would be frightening from someone who wasn't a cute blond girl. And that, of course, leaves aside the very real tragedies that hit her during this book's production.

What the book left me wondering about most is whether a decade or two of internet confessional has left us less able to discuss ourselves, not more. "Haha" we will share in an Instagram post "Adulting sure is hard", and we will all have a sensible chuckle about wanting to binge watch shows instead of paying our electric bill. This specific subject, in fact, owes lot to the hyperbole and a half post "This is why I will never be an adult", made by Brosh ten years ago. But while we could all keep in place, laughing about how we have rotting vegetables in our refrigerator and will need to order pizza instead, or any other common foible of young adulthood, Brosh has gone off to talk about the big stuff: mortality, search for meaning, relating to your own self. It is a bold move, and it makes this book much better than it could be, and worth the wait.

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