Allie Brosh had dreams of being a doctor and a professional runner, but instead decided to hole up in her bedroom and write a blog.
While that choice would be disastrous for most people, Brosh's blog at hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com proved to be so funny that it gained millions of readers and eventually landed her a book deal.
Published by Simon & Schuster, "Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened" chronicles Brosh's hyperactive childhood and current attempts to act like a grown-up.
It's filled with text as well as purposefully crude illustrations she creates with the software program Paintbrush.
Her writing and drawings perfectly complement each other, adding to the hilarity of the book.
Brosh, a Bend resident, frankly admits she would like to be a good person, but her personality is filled with flaws.
She lives in fear that a loved one will need her to donate a kidney.
"If I was a match, I would probably end up letting go of a kidney, but not before fully exhausting my mental arsenal of escape routes," Brosh writes. These include pretending to have no kidneys, contracting hepatitis or obtaining a decoy kidney from a dead deer.
Brosh admits to being lazy. In one scenario, she picked up a banana while grocery shopping, decided she didn't want it, but didn't want to walk back to the produce area.
Only shame stopped her from throwing the banana very hard toward the produce section while yelling, "I'm sorry."
Brosh confesses that she gets angry over petty annoyances and has unreasonable expectations for how the world should work.
In one part of the book, she imagines herself as a subject being observed by a scientist.
The scientist's imaginary journal reads, "An especially upsetting event occurred today: A garbage truck awakened the subject several hours before subject planned to be awake. Subject HATES garbage truck for what it has done. Hates it so much that had to get up and look at it. Stood at window looking at garbage truck and hating it."
Brosh's blog posts about her dumb dog, known as the simple dog, and her slightly smarter but psychotic second dog, known as the helper dog, have been especially popular. Many tales about the dogs are included in the book.
The dogs view lawn mowers and moving cars as friends, but have this assessment of balloons: "Horrifying, terrible. Would rather die than see a balloon."
Given their nature, the dogs were traumatized when Brosh moved from Idaho to Oregon several years ago.
The helper dog became anxious at the packing stage, but the simple dog was unfazed in the beginning, even when she threw up seven times in the car and repeatedly ate the results.
"She actually seemed to like throwing up," Brosh wrote. "To the simple dog, throwing up was like some magical power that she never knew she possessed — the ability to create infinite food."
However, both dogs became overwhelmed with anxiety when the animals had to stay overnight in a motel along the way, encountered snow when they reached Oregon and had to wear sled dog booties to avoid scratching their new home's hardwood floors. The simple dog stood frozen, while the helper dog pretended to lose the use of its legs, except when it would flop toward its food bowl like a dying fish.
Two sections of the book that describe Brosh's bouts with debilitating depression are poignant and funny. Luckily for fans of her blog and now readers of her book, she was able to seek help and recover.
If you are searching for a present this holiday season, the tales and drawings in "Hyperbole and a Half" make the book an ideal gift for that person on your list with a sense of humor.
Disclaimer: The book is sprinkled with swear words and Brosh does call the simple dog mentally retarded, so use your judgment if giving the book as a gift.
Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.