Pearl Plankette ran away from her home to escape an abusive father and an unhappy future. Disguised and reborn as a boy named Soupy, she hitches her star to an unlikely hobo, and they begin their journey from the cold heartbreak of their eastern homes toward the sunny promise of California in this train-hopping, Depression-era coming-of-age tale.
Out of the terrible era of the Great Depression we still get the good tales of the ever moving hobo. Catching trains, avoiding police, making their way however they could, they had quite the interesting lives. In Soupy Leaves Home, we follow the life of a very different but just as interesting hobo.
Although she may have come from a family of wealth, young Pearl did not have a happy life. One night, she decides to leave her home and abusive father, starting her journey as a hobo. Disguised as a boy, Pearl is taken under the wing of a kind old vagabond nicknamed Ramshackle. He teaches her the ways of the hobo, from how to still live respectably to their secret symbols. Many an friend and adventure are found along their way West, which unfortunately is also code for a hobo’s final resting place. Taking all the memories throughout her time on the road, Pearl finds new strength and stands up for not only those around her, but finally herself as well.
The approach to the artwork was certainly different than what you’ll see from most other books. Sequential pages will be a single color beyond the lines and blacks, switching off from one to another. Here and there though, it might have objects with a second, and on rare occasion an explosion of color. It was a curious way to illustrate the story and by the end I actually liked it.
I’m pretty sure this is the first thing set in the Depression that I’ve read since high school. I had no idea what to expect at first but this turned out to be a pretty great story with a lot of emotion. This isn’t being forced on you like Grapes of Wrath, but I would at least throw the suggestion your way.
For more on The Soupy Leaves Home or other Dark Horse books, check out Dark Horse Comics.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.