Eilonwy's Reviews > The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
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really liked it
bookshelves: beautifully-written, diverse-characters, very-unusual

I've spent a long time avoiding this book because it always showed up on summer reading lists and that sort of place. Even though I know a lot of those books are perfectly good, there's something about Assigned School Reading that leaves me with a knee-jerk shudder to this day.

But then Wanda’s review made me curious about it.

This was completely different from any expectation I had. I anticipated a more linear story thread of some sort. But this book is more like a prose poem than anything else. Each "chapter" is a self-contained episode describing a person or an event, and capturing a mood more than anything else. And yet it tells a sort of story, about narrator Esperanza's family moving to a maybe-not-so-good neighborhood (the kind that people who can afford to live somewhere else leave as soon as possible). A neighborhood where the women are not very happy, and seek various forms of escape that mostly seem fruitless: they become wives and mothers, always dominated by someone else, always responsible for someone else, never their own person. (The author's bio at the end explicitly states, "She is no one's wife and no one's mother.") A neighborhood which nevertheless feeds Esperanza's ambition to become a writer.

I'm not really sure how to rate this since it's not really a narrative with characters or anything. I'm giving it 4 stars for the feel of it, because it's strongly evocative and placed me right in its place and time. And because it works beautifully as poetry and prose both. And because I'm glad Esperanza lived out her ambition to become a writer despite the odds being against her.
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Reading Progress

February 6, 2018 – Started Reading
February 6, 2018 – Shelved
February 10, 2018 – Shelved as: beautifully-written
February 10, 2018 – Shelved as: diverse-characters
February 10, 2018 – Shelved as: very-unusual
February 10, 2018 – Finished Reading

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