REVIEW: Heartbreak Soup, by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez
Heartbreak Soup is the first in a two-volume collection of stories from creator Gilbert (and brother Jaime) Hernandez’s Love and Rockets series, all of which take place in a sleepy Central American town called Palomar. The collection almost reads like an epic; the stories span nearly twenty years and, though presented out of chronological order, are carefully woven together to develop an incredibly rich story. The characters each possess their own idiosyncrasies, secrets, and fears, which, coupled with the humorous and compassionate storytelling, make them wholly human.
Elements of magical realism reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez can be found sprinkled among the universal themes of love, sex, death, and family. Heartbreak Soup also forges into thematic territory less often seen, including cultural exploitation and the battle between self-sufficiency and commitment. The writing absolutely shines, and the art serves to underscore that brilliance; although simple and in black and white, the masterfully subtle facial expressions bring the impact of the story to a whole new level. It’s a read well worth your time, and be sure to check out the second volume, Gilbert Hernandez’s Human Diastrophism*, as well as more Love and Rockets collections from Jaime Hernandez.
Pro tip: Given some of the mature themes in the series, it’s probably best not to ask your aunt to give you Human Diastrophism for Christmas. The entire family will fall silent when she says, “I read a little bit of it and felt kind of weird giving it to my niece.” Then your grandpa (who doesn’t even know what he got you for Christmas because your mom picked it out) will suddenly take an interest, open to a random page, exclaim, “Well this isn’t very nice,” and hand it to your mother. Or maybe your family is cooler than mine and everything will be fine.
— Emily Stein
If you’re interested, you can find it on Amazon (with Prime shipping!)