Jaime Hernandez is one of the three brothers (though eldest bother Mario only occasionally contributes) who are responsible for the comics magazine Love and Rockets; elder brother Gilbert tends to write stories about characters in or from a small town, Palomar, in an unspecified Central American country, many of whom have emigrated to the U.S.; Xaime (as he sometimes signs his work) focuses on characters who grew up in relatively run-down suburbs of L.A. JH's comics tend to hew to realism a bit more than his brothers', even given his earliest L&R comics were primarily science-fictional, with his two most consistent characters, Esperanza "Hopey" Glass and Maggie Chascarrillo, working as mechanics on small space-faring vehicles. Soon, most of the sfnal content was dropped from these narratives, except as occasional reminiscences or such subplots as when one of their friends strove to become a supernaturally-gifted superhero, while Maggie and Hopey made their way through the L.A. punk-rock scene and the interplay of cultures around them. (Another of their friends is something of an actual witch, which allows Jaime to play at times with the fantasy/magical realism tropes more common in his brother's Palomar stories.)
The Education of Hopey Glass collects a series of shorter linked narratives from a period in which Hopey is going through some relatively serious life changes; a lifelong instinctive rebel, as she approaches forty, she takes on her first relatively "straight" job associated with the college courses she's been attending, that of a teacher's assistant in an elementary school. At the school, the teacher she works with refers to her as "Hope" (a literal translation of Esperanza), and settling into that job has other small bits of estrangement, not least in reminding her of her own troubled early school experience. Hopey is also having troubles with the womanfriend she lives with, who among other things has grown tired of Glass's endless flirtation with other women. Hopey visits Maggie, which in turn connects this series of stories with the second half of the book, comprised mostly of narratives involving Ray Dominguez, like Hopey an ex-lover of Maggie's; Hopey and Ray's relations with Maggie are both unresolved on both ends. Thus, while Ray finds himself in the orbit of a mercurial woman named Vivian, he keeps being reminded of how much he misses Maggie, not least when he runs into Maggie on several occasions. Ray's adventures, despite their peripherally involving the murder of Vivian's abusive ex-boyfriend, somewhat parallel Hopey's.
This is perhaps not the book to begin one's reading of Love and Rockets with, despite it featuring the charm and wit Hernandez fans have long since come to expect...something like the omnibus Locas would be better for the stories around Maggie, Hopey and their friends and family...but as with most good serial narrative, you might well find you understand enough of what goes on, in the characters' lives as in everyone's...
Please see Patti Abbott's blog for today's prompter entries.