Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Maybe there were subtle clues in the art, or my brain absorbed the color choices of the cover in my copy, but I sensed a different tone in this volume from the last. Even before I hit the gut-punch chapters. Something was “off” and leaning towards less of a humorous bite than with the previous volume. (I certainly didn’t have to try to muffle my laughter to avoid waking my husband) I don’t know how I knew, but my subconscious certainly did.

And that made reading this volume a different experience. (No, I’m not psychic; don’t ask)

I know there are no answers for most of the situations Ms. Brosh tackles – satisfactory or otherwise. But so many chapters felt incomplete. They dropped away with no resolution of any kind, leaving me double-checking page numbers to ensure my book wasn’t damaged. Where was the rest of the story? What happened to bring that vignette to a close? Why was I left holding armloads of emotional baggage that wasn’t mine? It was frustrating and maddening.

Even if a person hadn’t shared an identical experience, they likely understood a parallel. They entered into the chapter wanting to explore the pathway. And ended up dumped in the middle of the woods. At the very least, shrug a shoulder and confess that you were as lost as they were. But don’t leave everything suspended in space without a closing argument of some kind. It was clumsy and frequent enough to make the reading irritating. How can I share a journey or commiserate with you if you insist on stopping mid-sentence and staring at me? I’m not a therapist; I’m a human being – as damaged and fallible as you. So treat me as such.

I wanted to feel a connection, I really did. But Ms. Brosh went out of her way to define a firm boundary. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.

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