Friday, 30 December 2016

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen Review


Sarah Andersen follows up her Goodreads Choice Award-winning book Adulthood is a Myth with Big Mushy Happy Lump, which is essentially more of the same - if it ain’t broke, eh? 

Andersen’s strips are humorous and self-deprecating snapshots focusing on her insecurities, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, social awkwardness, period pains, and general self-loathing (procrastination) couched within drawings of cute big-eyed/small-bodied figures. 

That might sound a bit too neurotic but Andersen turns her public therapy into really funny strips. I laughed at the feline Paris Hilton (that vapid face was dead on!) and Sarah’s expression at seeing a puppy in a sweater, and her observations on tattoos and the differences between men/women’s fashion were insightful and clever. 

She’s doing something different from her first book in the second half of this book by branching out into longer-form narratives. Included are stories on learning to overthink less, the Saga of Sadie (a cute kitty who helped solve her mouse problem and showed her why people love cats), and The Sweater Thief, which was adorable. I can see her maybe moving away from strips soon and building up to a book length-narrative - these encouraging longer pieces definitely show she’s got the storytelling rhythm down. 

Andersen’s strips are charming and easily accessible and, like many other readers I expect, I identified with her anti-social tendencies to be alone, watching Netflix or reading, over mingling with real people in the real world - blech! Combine that with self-awareness, imagination, comedic timing and wit and it’s not hard to see why people respond to her books. 

Not all the strips are home-runs and a few feel like retreads of similar strips from the first book, but Big Mushy Happy Lump is still a very enjoyable, fun read - fans of Sarah’s Scribbles will love this!

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