By: Sandra Cisneros
Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero.
Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.
Let me start by saying I had to read this for school. I had no idea what this book was about other than a young Latino girl growing up in 1960-70 Chicago. It’s a historical novel, which I love, and the premise was interesting. I, however, didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I so desperately wanted to enjoy this. I love it when I have to read a book for school, and I love it even more when I end up loving that book. I’m not a big fan of the author’s writing style and would’ve liked more description and I found that this book lacked a good story. I don’t have many thoughts on this book, so this review will be short and brief.
There wasn’t much world development in this book other than the obvious setting in Chicago. But it isn’t set in the high-rises or houses, but a run down Latino neighborhood. The sentences were brief so it was difficult to get much of a feel as far as the atmosphere goes, which is a shame because when the author did use descriptive words to describe surroundings and landscape, I really enjoyed it.
Our protagonist, Esperanza, doesn’t think much of herself. She calls herself an ugly daughter and complains about her clothing/appearance. She is poor, I get it, but that doesn’t mean you need to make a Soap Opera about it. Anyway, I still liked Esperanza, despite her faults. She wanted to get out of her run-down neighborhood and become somebody in the world. Some other characters mentioned are her parents, siblings, and other people who live in the neighborhood. Nobody is very significant, but they all go through their own struggles whether it’s abuse at home or husbands leaving their wives. Not much character development through the novel. Esperanza sounds like she just moved from Mexico throughout the entire book. Which is a shame because I thought she would grow up a bit.
Not much plot, really. There is a beginning where Esperanza tells the reader that her family moved again, to a house on Mango Street. But this time they own the place, which they have never done before. Then the climax, I would have to say is when Esperanza and Sally get ‘raped’ by a group of boys. I will just call it kissing without them wanting it, because, frankly that’s all the information I’m given. Then towards the end Esperanza talks about going back to Mango Street later in life when she succeeds and accomplishes her goals, so that she won’t forget where she came from. And she talks about helping the people who aren’t able to leave Mango Street as easily as she was able to.
Let me know your thoughts below!