Friday, October 23, 2015

It's Never Too Late for #Diversiverse: The House on Mango Street

It makes me sad that I totally missed out on #Diversiverse created by Aarti from Book Lust. October started creeping by, the readathon got closer and closer, and poof! All my time was gone. But that doesn't mean I haven't been reading diversely, and today I want to shine a spotlight on a gem of a book that's probably not new to anyone, though it was new to me: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

I picked this book up for the fact that it's small, an easy read for #15in31, but I loved it for Cisneros's rich writing. The book is only a little over 100 pages, and it's written in vignettes about a young girl growing up in inner-city Chicago. Esperanza Cordero is not satisfied with her house on Mango Street. She sees it as impermanent and sub-par as she observes her neighbors and their quirks and frustrations. Her observations are those of a child, but she grows throughout the book and you can see her making plans for herself. Stretching her writing legs with hopes of building a future. 

It's such a short, simple book, but it's so lovely and complicated all the same. Esperanza has to make sense of the abuse, poverty, and woeful people around her, and to observe these things through a young woman growing into her own provides plenty of astute observations. 

This book had a bigger impact on me than I expected. For something so small, it packs a punch. The only other book I've read by Cisneros is Caramelo, and while it's longer, I seem to remember it mimicking this short, episodic structure, which really works for me. I'll get to the stories in Woman Hollering Creek as soon as I can.

Vintage, April 1991
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0679734775
Source: Library


  1. I just recently reread this book for Banned Books Week and it was just as beautiful and moving as it was ten years ago when I first came across it. I love seeing it around the blogosphere lately!

  2. I love Cisneros. She's one of my favorite authors. I wrote one of my dissertations on her works and have always loved re-reading her books. Mango Street was my first book by her and is one of my all-time favorite reads ever. I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much :) I think you will love Woman Hollering Creek - those short stories are amazing! I just bought a copy of her latest book, A House of My Own - its essays and short pieces she's written over the years. I'm definitely looking forward to it. So glad you posted about Mango Street!

  3. I NEED to read this! Finally picked up a copy at a library book sale.... wonder if I can fit it in before the end of the month.

  4. I remember this being read to us in the classroom when I was a kid! I need to revisit it!

  5. I've meant to read this, but haven't. I didn't get to post about the book I read for A More Diverse Universe. It was The Housekeeper and the Professor. A wonderful, wonderful book.

  6. Sadly, the episodic structure has never been what does it for me, and I didn't love this book when I read it. (Sigh.) AND I missed Diversiverse for many of the same reasons as you.

  7. It's been a long time since I've read Cisneros but I have liked all of hers that I've read. I should see what I'm missing of hers and visit her words again.

  8. I read this for a class in high school, but somehow I haven't read anything else of hers since then. Whoops!

    I'm glad you got to join Diversiverse after all! :)

  9. I read most of the works of Cisneros in high school and college, so this was a great reminder that it's definitely time for some re-reading! She's amazing. And now I see that she's published a book about grief called Have You Seen Marie? which I didn't even know was out there. Thanks! -Laila @Big ReadingLife


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