Kate's Reviews > The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
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May 02, 07

Read in March, 2007

(Original pub date: 1984)
This is another one of those "reading list classics" that I figured I should try. Especially since it's really short! ;) The book consists entirely of vignettes from the author's childhood in a poor section of Chicago. The writing is beautiful and spare - no vignette is longer that 2 or 3 pages (and the font is huge and widely spaced). It reads like poetry, really - the words are potent and evocative rather than exhaustively descriptive.

My reading of this book actually had some unexpected bonus material. I picked my copy up at a library used book sale in Maine, and the previous owner appears to have been a slightly dim-witted 8th or 9th grader who felt obliged to write inane comments in all the margins. When the author describes her annoyance at a tag-along little sister who just doesn't get it, the margins shout, "Is Nenny retarded?" An odd neighbor gets the same treatment: "Is Ruthie retarded?" By the time we get to the author's lovely description of her own weakness and vulnerability, a comparison between her and the skinny trees in front of her house, we've graduated to, "Eating disorder??? Why is she so thin?"

Sigh. Pop psychology has clearly killed future generations' ability to process art. RIP, intelligent thought.

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message 1: by David (new)

David book was trash


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