Title: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisernos
Published: April 3, 2009
Notes: TW: sexual assault, grief, pedophilia
Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero.
Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.
I started this book twice and put it down. You have no idea how afraid I was that I wouldn’t like a classic Latinx book. Like, what kind of Latina would I be if I didn’t like one of the most beloved Latinx books of all time? Fortunately, I realized that it was all in the timing.
“You can’t forget what you know, you can’t forget who you are.”
While the beginning was a bit slow and static for my taste, once we saw Esperanza grow as a character and mature through snippets in time, I started to fall in love. She had a delicate balance of innocence and maturity throughout the novel that I appreciated. Her character arc is one of the best I’ve ever read, and reminded me faintly of Charlie from Perks of Being A Wallflower.
The themes of family and home really resonated with me since I’m planning to move away for college next year and I’m really attached to those two ideas. The format of the story is definitely original and enhances the progression of the story (along with adding some beautiful prose), but at times I found it a bit tiresome. I wanted the story part of the novel, not just small pieces of a puzzle that only just made sense.
I listened to this via audiobook on Scribd and I think hearing the author relate the story the way it was intended to be told really helped with my overall enjoyment of the book. It was quick and emotional, two things I didn’t expect when going into it.
It really was a gorgeous book that made me tear up several times. I settled on a 4.5/5 stars because while I loved the book, I did have a few issues with it.