Thursday, May 19, 2011

"She doesn't need anybody to laugh with, she just laughs... and sees beautiful things everywhere."

The House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisneros

128 pages

Genre:  Literary Fiction; Realistic; Coming of Age

Summary:  Told from the perspective of a young girl named Esparanza, The House on Mango Street unfolds in a series of vignettes that focus on the narrator’s life.

Review:  For such a slim, little book, The House on Mango Street definitely packs a punch.  I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the story from the very first page, and I read the whole book straight through in one sitting.

The language Cisneros used to craft this book was lyrical and poetic, and I oftentimes found myself lingering over the passages in an attempt to fully absorb her words.  The imagery created through description was incredibly beautiful, and at times, terribly heartbreaking, and events flowed seamlessly from one to the next.

I really liked that The House on Mango Street was told in simple vignettes.  While this style doesn’t work well in every book, it worked wonderfully here.  By giving the reader short glimpses into the narrator’s life, the book really developed a layer of authenticity that made the events therein seem incredibly realistic. 

Some of the characters were only introduced in small fragments; those little bits of information were so powerful, however, that it was quite easy to see the characters come to life.   The narrator herself was a very real character, and I liked watching the story unfold through her eyes.  Esparanza had so many hopes and dreams, and while she wasn’t always happy with her lot in life, it never kept her from thinking about how things could be.  I think many readers would be able to identify with her.

If you enjoy books that have lyrical language, real characters, and complex emotions, definitely give The House on Mango Street a try.

Rating: 4.5/5

Other Books by Sandra Cisneros:  Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, Caramelo, Bad Boys


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