Genre: YA fiction
Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous, The House on Mango Street tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong - not to her rundown neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Esperenza's story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become. (from back of book)I guess you could say that I had relatively high hopes for this book. The summary lead me to believe that I'd gain a lot from reading it - empathy, understanding, appreciation, and strength. But, I didn't. I'm sure The House on Mango Street has many underlying themes and messages that a more critical and analytical reader could discover, but none of them came across for me!
Cisneros is talented writer, that's for sure. She also writes poetry, so some of that smoothness and richness was there. I liked the innocence of the narrator, and I liked seeing the world from her eyes. Despite all that, the book just didn't make logical sense to me. The "chapters" were short, fragmented, random, and didn't merge to create one single plot. Rather, they felt like their own separate short stories that had no relevance to each other in the least. And, to top it all off, none of the characters stood out. I found it difficult to distinguish them from each other.
Maybe the book's brevity ruined it for me. Maybe I didn't take it seriously enough. Maybe I even read too fast for my own good. No matter what, though, The House on Mango Street will not go down in history for me. It was a semi-positive, semi-uplifting story about a young girl who decides to leave her old life behind - that's pretty much the gist of it. Sandra Cisneros is a good author herself, but I don't think this book showcased her full potential.
Recommendation: Because you can theoretically read this book in just over an hour, give it a try if you see it anywhere. You might end up appreciating it more than I did, so I don't want to discourage you from reading it.