The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

  
This was one of the books that immediately sprung to mind when I signed up for the Rereadathon. Like Wise Children I read it for an actual academic assignment, this time Ethnic American Literature in the second year of uni. Life outside of university in my second year was an unmitigated disaster, so much so that I ended up taking the year twice, and The House on Mango Street was probably the only book I read the whole of that first attempt. 

I enjoyed it a lot more without the pressure of university (like all books) and also with the benefit of nearly six years of online communication with people who aren’t from the same town as me. For all my lecturer’s enthusiasm I don’t think I fully got the beauty of this book aged nineteen.

I still love the way the book is written, not in chapters but in vignettes. There’s something lovely about a vignette that can be taken in isolation but that also comes together with others to paint a broader picture. Although it’s short, the book deals with a lot of aspects about Esperanza’s life and the specific ways in which being Latina in Chicago affect her. There’s almost a fairy tale quality to the way Esperanza narrates stories about the others on her street too. 

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