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The House on Mango Street Paperback – April 3, 1991

977 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Esperanza Cordero, a girl coming of age in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago, uses poems and stories to express thoughts and emotions about her oppressive environment. (Apr.)no PW review
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“A classic. . . . This little book has made a great space for itself on the shelf of American literature.” —Julia Alvarez“Afortunado! Lucky! Lucky the generation who grew up with Esperanza and The House on Mango Street. And lucky future readers. This funny, beautiful book will always be with us.” —Maxine Hong Kingston"Cisneros draws on her rich [Latino] heritage...and seduces with precise, spare prose, creat[ing] unforgettable characters we want to lift off the page. She is not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one." —Bebe Moore Campbell, The New York Times Book Review"Marvelous...spare yet luminous. The subtle power of Cisneros's storytelling is evident. She communicates all the rapture and rage of growing up in a modern world." —San Francisco Cronicle"A deeply moving novel...delightful and poignant.... Like the best of poetry, it opens the windows of the heart without a wasted word." —Miami Herald"Sandra Cisneros is one of the most brillant of today's young writers. Her work is sensitive, alert, nuanceful...rich with music and picture." —Gwendolyn Books
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 3, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679734775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679734772
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (977 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago in 1954. Internationally acclaimed for her poetry and fiction, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lannan Literary Award and the American Book Award, and of fellowships .

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

311 of 330 people found the following review helpful By Callie on January 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read some reviews for this book and I could not believe how underated it is and how many people didn't understand it. Some people say that it is just a collection of random thoughts, but that is not the case. You see, this book a whole story and instead of having chapters of episodes, it contains "vignettes" which the dictionary defines as "a short descrioptive literary sketch". Each vignette contains an important part of the story. The whole story describes the thoughts, feelings, and meories of Esperanza, an hispanic girl living in the poverty corner of the city, with dreams to escape her world. At the same time, she grows up and starts to leave her childhood, while learning about the fears and dangers of the world she never knew of before. Becomeing an adult turns out to be a hard challenge. The first vignette called "House On Mango Street" is meant to describe the setting. The second "Hairs" describes the looks and characteristics of the characters. The third called "Boys and Girls" tells the difference between genders, which is important because the story deals with men and women. The following vignette called "My Name" paints the image of self and the feelings of hope and the future. Therefore, these vignettes are not mere collections of random thoughts and uneducated language, but a poetic story with a well drawn setting, characterization, and gripping tone. Even though the story evolves around hispanics, this is a book for all races. The poverty and dreams of home remind me of the experiences of African-Americans and Chinese, as well as Caucasians.Read more ›
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful By "magwitch" on December 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
I teach English to speakers of other languages at the high school level. For the past five years I have been reading _The House on Mango Street_ with some of my classes. Not only is it the highlight of the year for me, but for my students as well.
Cisneros's magnificently lyrical prose forces us to see the world through the perspective of an adolescent Latina. Don't let the simple sentences and short chapters fool you. Beneath the surface lies a rich network of themes: poverty, child abuse, rape, spousal abuse, the importance of education, hypocrisy, and a host of others.
If you're looking for a linear story with a clearly defined plot, look elsewhere. Cisneros paints in broad strokes, and her canvas is multi-colored. Seen from up close, each chapter is a self-contained beauty. Seen from a distance, the chapters come together to reveal a masterpiece of Latino literature; it is by turns a feminist novel, a bildungsroman, and a chronicle of the will's triumph. The book has affected me profoundly, and with each new reading I find more to admire about it.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on September 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A series of vignettes, rather than a structured novel, House on Mango Street is Sandra Cisneros's semi-autobiographical account of growing up Chicana in a poor area of Chicago. Esperanza Cordero, at age eleven, has already discovered that being able to communicate in English is a key to worldly success, and she has begun recording stories of her neighborhood, friends, and everyday life, hoping one day to become a writer. Recreating one year of her life, she vividly depicts the children's fierce loyalties to each other, their alienation from mainstream society, and their goals in life, sadly limited by the culture and its low expectations for girls and women.

Maintaining a childish innocence, Esperanza's first person account reveals her growing awareness of alternatives to her Mango Street existence. She is saddened that her friend Sally, an abused child, never escapes, marrying very early ("in a state where children can marry before they have finished eighth grade"). Alicia, an older, highly motivated friend, however, works to achieve an education and spends long hours traveling to and from school so that she can move beyond Mango Street. Her prescient Aunt Lupe tells Esperanza to "Keep writing. It will keep you free," and a psychic tells her that she must work hard and write so that she can "come back for those who cannot make it out on their own."

Dealing with everyday issues of maturity, a growing awareness of her own sexuality, and her resentment of a world which does not value women, Esperanza is an astute observer, telling stories filled with the humor, wonder, and sometimes heartbreak.
Read more ›
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65 of 77 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
Decent. That one word describes this book- decent. Not bad, not necessarily good, but decent. And unlike many people, my problems with the book is not in the vignettes. I think that each vignette helps the story as a whole (well, most of them, anyway). They all tell you an important part of a year this girl spends at the house on Mango Street.

No, my problems lay with the book's portrayal of men. I'll be blunt, almost every single male character in the book either abuses the women or rapes them. Even the main character is raped at a carnival. Now, I know that it's supposed to represent "real life", but in reality, not every single man in the world is evil. Girls come to school black and blue from their abusive fathers, bums in the streets ask people to kiss them, etc. Not even elderly men are safe from Cisneros's wrath! In one vignette, an elderly man forces Esperanza to kiss him on the mouth. There's a man across the street who has prostitutes come to his house. And all the while the girls are portrayed as being completely innocent.

This skewed logic and obvious enmity toward men makes Sandra Cisneros's book impossimble for me- as a boy- to enjoy. Maybe girls will like it better- but for me, I'd like a fairer representation of the sexes.
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