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The House on Mango Street
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Short Story/Novella Collection > The House on Mango Street - May 2018

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message 1: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 1 star

Bob | 5129 comments Mod
Our Short Story read for May 2018 is The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, 110 pages, 1983


message 2: by Pink (last edited May 01, 2018 05:10AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink | 6554 comments Looking forward to reading this. It isn't something I'd try by myself, as it's not the sort of book I pick up, so it will be good to try something different for me.

I've heard lots of good things, but your 1 star rating is making me slightly nervous, Bob!


Brina I gave it 4.5 if it helps, Pink. But then again Cisneros is a Chicagoan and even went to the same university I did albeit at different times. And I hadn't read this until last year. Looking forward to the discussions.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished it a couple of weeks back and it is lovely. Seems easy, but there is a plethora of meaning and symbolism. They say Cisneros intended the style to be simplistic so that even those who hate reading may enjoy it.


message 5: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 1 star

Bob | 5129 comments Mod
Don’t be nervous, I remember thinking the author was gifted, but the story just did not resonate with me. Now that it has won the short story read, I plan on revisiting the book, at least skimming it.


Lena | 346 comments Just started the audiobook. The author narrates and has a cutesy voice.


Loretta | 2670 comments I read this already too and like Bob I wasn't enamored. I gave it three stars although it was more of a 2.5 star read. At least it was a quick read.


Kathleen | 4211 comments I think this is a very unique story. I enjoyed it, but can understand why the style isn't for everyone--it's sort of like poetry that way. I'm curious to see why people liked or didn't like it.


message 9: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3423 comments Kathleen wrote: "I think this is a very unique story. I enjoyed it, but can understand why the style isn't for everyone--it's sort of like poetry that way. I'm curious to see why people liked or didn't like it."

I liked it a lot and thought it poetic. I enjoyed the simplicity of it and the power that comes from a child's perspective


message 10: by Lena (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lena | 346 comments I’m over halfway through. It’s been a long time since I read YA or an economically depressed non criminal character. It’s made me grateful for everything I had, the problems I did not have. I’m not Mexican, but I am Latina in south Texas so there have been some moments that made me wince with recollection.

Like the time in high school I took summer school to get out of taking a class with a certain Irish nun that always graded you poorly if you weren’t white. A bunch of us did that. That summer school class was all the white teens that didnt pass and the nonwhite A/B students looking to stay that way - even if it cost us the summer.


Melanti | 2383 comments Kathleen wrote: "I think this is a very unique story. I enjoyed it, but can understand why the style isn't for everyone--it's sort of like poetry that way. I'm curious to see why people liked or didn't like it."

That was my thought too! It was a novel/linked anthology that was written in a style more appropriate to a collection of poetry.

I wasn't a fan, but then, I'm not a big poetry fan anyway.


message 12: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - added it

Katy (kathy_h) | 9904 comments Mod
Looking forward to this read.


message 13: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3423 comments I saw a play last year at the Goodman Theater in Chicago called La Havana Madrid. The play was about the Latino migration to Chicago in the 1960's. It was an excellent play and it made it easy for me to transport myself into this story with sites and sounds from the era fresh in my mind.

I think I would have enjoyed it just as much without that background because I love stories about the human condition in different walks of life.

I also enjoyed Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories. The stories are told in a similar fashion but they are more in-depth and about adult pain. I'm a fan of her writing. It doesn't quite reach the 5 star level for me, but pretty close.


message 14: by Lena (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lena | 346 comments Finished: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Has anyone else read My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1? It’s told from almost the same perspective but it’s a harrowing read.


message 15: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink | 6554 comments Oh, lots of interesting opinions already! It seems to split opinion a bit, but even the non-likers think it's more the style not suiting, than it being a bad book. I'll probably read this over the weekend.


Brina I happen to like the short shapshots of Cisneros' life. It works for talking about how teenagers are constantly on the move and things are changing. This reminds me of Jacquelyn Woodson only 30 years earlier. I can see why those who prefer a full length story or novella wouldn't enjoy it as much but the style worked for me.


message 17: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 627 comments I've taught this one a couple times. I love Cisneros' evocative prose style and her economic use of details. She gets an awful lot across in a very small amount of text.


Erica (thebrokenspine) | 26 comments I just finished reading this and am on the fence about it. I didn't love it, but I didn't not like it either. Just didnt give me a warm fuzzy. Gonna let it sink in for a couple of days and see.


Laurie | 1701 comments I read this last year, and I fall in with those who liked it. The story flows less like a typical novel, more like a bunch of short vignettes. It is a style that doesn't work for everyone, as we can see from the various comments.

I liked that Esperanza's name is meaningful. It means hope which is what she represents. Hope of having a home of their own, hope of a better life, and hope of getting the home of her dreams someday when the family's new house does not match her wishes.


message 20: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink | 6554 comments I've started this now. It does have a very strange episodic structure. This edition has an introduction by Cisneros, written 10 years later, which explains her reasoning behind the style and how she blended fact with fiction. I'm enjoying it so far, but each chapter is such a short snapshot, I wonder how deep an impression it will leave on me.


siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments I read it last minth and enjoyed the tone a lot.


message 22: by Nix (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nix | 112 comments I read this last year and was quite taken with it, especially because I expected a much more stylistically traditional coming-of-age story. Like Phil, I admire the efficiency in her writing. Others would have needed 500 pages to do the same thing. Esperanza's hopes and desires really resonated with me as well.


siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Sue wrote: "Kathleen wrote: "I think this is a very unique story. I enjoyed it, but can understand why the style isn't for everyone--it's sort of like poetry that way. I'm curious to see why people liked or di..."

me too.


message 24: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 627 comments Kathleen wrote: "I think this is a very unique story. I enjoyed it, but can understand why the style isn't for everyone--it's sort of like poetry that way. I'm curious to see why people liked or didn't like it."

The prose reflects the speech patterns of a Hispanic population in Chicago. I'm wondering if people who live far from that environment have a harder time appreciating it.


message 25: by Pink (last edited May 07, 2018 12:27AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink | 6554 comments I finished this today and though I appreciated it, I don't think it had much of an impact on me. I found the first half stronger than the second half, or perhaps I just enjoyed the narrative of a younger character reflecting upon her people and surroundings. I liked the writing style, lyrical in places, jumpy and sometimes fragmented. This is something I neither like, nor dislike in itself, but enjoy when it seems suited to the story, which it was here. Overall though, the structure didn't have enough substance to provide more than a snapshot of life. There was no real story and so nothing I could grab onto and feel invested about. For me, it was just an okay read that seems quite forgettable. Having said all of that, I'd imagine it's an interesting book to study or discuss in class, in regards to how Hispanic stories get told in America and whose voice gets to control the narrative.


message 26: by Rosemarie (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 1580 comments I read this book a number of years ago and remember nothing at all about it. I have recently read Caramelo by this author and thought it had a good plot and characters-including an incredibly annoying grandmother.


BAM the enigma I wasn’t much of a fan. Although a few of the chapters were true jewels, I found the majority too short to really give me a strong point of view. I remember feeling moved by the poverty level; that was apparent, but i dont know if that was the point of the plot? Or if maybe if each vignette perhaps was its own story?


Francisca | 368 comments BAM wrote: "I wasn’t much of a fan. Although a few of the chapters were true jewels, I found the majority too short to really give me a strong point of view. I remember feeling moved by the poverty level; that..."

I mostly agree. I liked some of the vignettes, but those mostly left me wanting more. And I think the connection between the stories - which I think is supposed to be that Esperanza is "growing up" throughout them, with the theme of learning to leave behind Mango Street? - could have been stronger/clearer.


message 29: by Ian (last edited May 25, 2018 02:14PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ian Anderson (beyondthemargin) | 9 comments I just finished this one. I enjoyed it quite a bit and it surprised me at times. At first it seemed so simple, to the point where it felt like something I could write myself, but then I realized the timing and subtlety of Esperanza's observations were quite impressive. She would mention things that the adults were doing where the writing itself would make me glance past it as if it weren't significant but then I would realize she was just naive to many of these situations. The writing was simple but required attention to detail and provoked emotion using the absence of words. I always like when a writer can do that. I also liked the neighborhood feel to it and her dreams to leave it someday. I do wish I had more time with it though, it came and went so fast that I don't think it will have a significant impact on me. But for what it was I enjoyed it. I think rereading this would be interesting and beneficial.


message 30: by Sara, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sara (phantomswife) | 6127 comments Mod
I would also have given it 2.5-stars, if half stars were permitted. I rounded up to 3. I think Cisneros is trying to say something important. It just doesn't grab me, though, and I did not feel that I got enough time with any character to feel attached. Even the narrator seemed always at a remove for me.

I do think she succeeds in making us see that these people and their lives are just like everyone else's...good, bad, up, down. I also found it interesting when the narrator comments that people from outside the neighborhood are afraid of the boys, but they are not because they "know them." The life is a hard one and obviously takes it's toll, but the writing is done in a way that makes you feel hopeful.


Aprilleigh (aprilleighlauer) | 576 comments Pink wrote: "I've started this now. It does have a very strange episodic structure. This edition has an introduction by Cisneros, written 10 years later, which explains her reasoning behind the style and how sh..."

That introduction (I'm so glad I didn't skip it) really helped me understand what she was doing. After that, some of the episodes resonated (I'm not Latina, but I grew up poor so there was some overlap). Others reminded me of things various friends have said over the years that I only partly understood at the time. It's not a book I'll go back to, but I thought the style was perfect for what she was trying to do, and would recommend it to others.


message 32: by Cynda (last edited May 24, 2019 07:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cynda  (cynda) | 3471 comments I gave The House on Mango Street 5 stars. I am hispanic. Many of my first cousins grew up working class. My university was self-aware of its South Texas location and threaded Borderlands/Chicano/hispanic studies throughout the curriculum. Familiarity can breed either affection or contempt. Here: Affection.


message 33: by Lynn, Revisit the Shelf (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lynn (lynnsreads) | 3648 comments Mod
Cynda wrote: "I gave The House on Mango Street 5 stars. I am hispanic. Many of my first cousins grew up working class. My university was self-aware of its South Texas location and threaded Borderla..."

It is so nice to see your comment on this thread Cynda. I own this book and it has been on my to read list for a while. I am glad to hear that you liked it and thought it had an authentic voice.


message 34: by Lynn, Revisit the Shelf (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lynn (lynnsreads) | 3648 comments Mod
I included this book on my 2019 Old and New Classics because I had already a few of her short stories. Most of what I have read by Sandra Cisneros was written for the Young adult audience with a young sounded author. I liked the book. I really liked the introduction where the author wrote with her own voice, and adult voice.


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