Book Reviews: The House on Mango Street

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros

The book is written as a series of vignettes about the life of a young Latino girl growing up in Chicago. The girl, Esperanza Cordero, is the eldest child in her family. Her brief glimpses into the life there are sometimes sad, sometimes wonderful. Some deal with her, others with neighbors or friends, but all of them paint a picture of the Mango Street, where she lives.

The story of her friend Sally was particularly heart wrenching. She's abused by her father and then married off to a controlling man while still a teen. She tries to escape her life but instead just traps herself in a new cycle of pain.

The book is a sweet little gem. I loved Cisneros' style of writing. Her descriptions are fresh and come alive. Here are a couple of my favorite examples...

"It's small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you'd think they were holding their breath."

"Our laughter for example. Not the shy ice cream bells' giggle of Rachel and Lucy's family, but all of a sudden and surprised like a pile of dishes breaking."


claire said...

Ooh one of my favourite books ever. Don't know how many times I've read it since my teenage days.. Since you loved this, I recommend her longer book, Caramelo. It has the same flavour. :)

Anonymous said...

This was required reading for my freshman year in high school. I am so glad they chose this book, it spoke to me as a 15 year old, and still does as a 26 year old. :) Love her style of writing.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Claire - Thanks for the recommendation. I'd love to check out more form her.

Cara - I can't believe I'd never heard of this book until recently. It just reminds me how many great books are still out there for me to read. I love it.

Jenners said...

This title sounds so familiar ... I think I read this in college.