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a spoiler free review: the house on mango street by sandra cisneros

I never thought I would be writing a review for this book. It was a required read for my literature class, but I didn’t think I would love (or hate) it enough to feature it on my blog which is primarily for books that I pick up of my own accord. Fast forward a week, and I’ve devoured all of the vignettes this small book has to offer, wishing I could have just a little bit more of Cisneros’ gorgeous writing. The House on Mango Street is a book for everyone. It is studded with diversity and representation from a time when it wasn’t commonplace. This novel is told in vignette format (small stories for each chapter that can stand alone but are better understood in the larger context of the story), and is told from the eyes of a young Esperanza who is most likely twelve although it’s not explicitly stated in the text. In a sense, we see Esperanza’s coming of age tale as she struggles with being Mexican and from a low class family. Although it’s told from the perspective of a young girl, this story explores the topics of gender roles and sexual assault.

I absolutely LOVED these stories. At first glance, certain vignettes can seem uncomplicated, but upon further analysis and the exploration of extended metaphors, a special kind of complexity arises. I absolutely live for literary analysis which this book is perfect for. There are a lot of authors who I look up to for their writing and stories (Leigh Bardugo, Kerri Maniscalco, Cassandra Clare, etc.), but Cisneros’ has quickly become someone that I look up to for her intelligence, strength, and character (as well as incredible writing).

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Let’s discuss folks:

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact plot of this novel. Throughout the stories they jump through time and focus on different characters or places, but every vignette has significance in understanding the greater story of Esperanza, her life, and everyone in it. We get to know Esperanza on such a deep level through her interactions and views of others as well as herself.

This was 100% a character driven book. Due to the first person narration, it’s intriguing to evaluate Esperanza and the people we see from her eyes. Is her narration reliable? Are her views tainted by childhood innocence? IT’S SO INTERESTING!! I absolutely loved exploring the characters and themes behind them. Also, if you want to talk strong female characters… The House on Mango Street has got ’em.

Cisneros’ had one of the most lovely and unique writing styles I have ever encountered. Her prose were elegant and beautiful and perfect. I am still in awe of the way she was able to weave such complex themes into a style that radiates youth and innocence. I can only aspire to have writing as wonderful as hers.

It’s inspiring. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s The House on Mango Street.

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