Reccommendation: The House on Mango Street

19 Feb


I love reading things that uncannilly echo the most personal of thoughts and articulate beautifully the ideas and emotions I grapple with myself- to some extent- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros was one of those books.


It was the first book I checked out using my Chicago Public Library card. It caught my eye because I remembered seeing it featured as the ‘One Book One Chicago’ selection for Spring 2009 (). The bright turquiose and orange cover also caught my eye.

I started reading as I ate lunch. I identified immediately with Cisnero’s voice, tone and semantics. It is structured as a series of short 1-3 page vignettes surrounding Esperanza, a young Latina woman growing up in Chicago- following her search for cultural and personal identity through the lens of her unique worldview.

Be sure to read the introduction to understand more deeply the context of the novel from the perspective of the author.

“You live here…” she askes “alone?, “Yes”, “So…” she pauses, “How did you do it?”, “Norma, I did it by doing the things I was afraid of doing so that I would no longer be afraid, Moving away to go to graduate school. Traveling abroad alone. Earning my own money and living by myself.” (introduction)

“Mygreat-grandmother. I would’ve liked to have known her, a wild horse of a woman, so wild she wouldn’t marry. Until my great-grandfather threw a sack over her head and carried her off.  Just like that, as if she were a fancy chandelier. That’s the way he did it. And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow.”

“Your abuelito is dead, Papa says early one morning in my room. Esta muerto, and then as if he just heard the news himself, crumples like a coat and cries, my brave Papa cries. I have never seen my Papa cry and don’t know what to do…Because I am the oldest my father has told be and now it is my turn to tell the others. My Papa, his thick hand and thick shoes, who wakes up tied in the dark, who combs his hair with water, drinks his coffee and is gone before we wake, today is sitting on my bed. And I think if my own Papa died what I would do. I hold my Papa in my arms. I hold and hold and hold him.”


2 Responses to “Reccommendation: The House on Mango Street”

  1. Ellen February 25, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    we read this book in english!

    • mzoobek February 26, 2010 at 12:49 am #

      It’s a good one!

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