The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Someone gave me this book as a gift in 1999, I guess I read it for the first time in 2009, but I didn't remember any of it when I read it again this year. It's a really short novel that's organized more like a short story collection of a short book of poems.
I grew up on what could be called a Mango Street. I lived in an apartment on Boulevard East in a town in New Jersey that had once been half Italian but was then mostly Hispanic. Like the main character, I never had a house, and to this day, I have never had a house. While I can relate to the longing to own my home, it only developed later. As a kid, you're usually mostly happy with what you have.
As for the rest of the novel, I found it a very heavy-handed in places (the rape chapter in particular), and incomplete in others. Maybe who you are is in part where you're from, but there's no special case made here as to why Esperanza is Mango Street, especially when she's presented as fundamentally different from the other residents and eager to leave.
Not a favorite of mine.
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