The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Genre: YA, Hispanic culture
Pages: 108 (paperback)
In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.
At school they say my name funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth. But in Spanish my name is made out of a softer something, like silver, not quite as thick as sister's name--Magdelena--which is uglier than mine. Magdalena who at least can come home and become Nenny. But I am always Esperanza.
My Review:This story is broken into a series of vignettes and tells the story of Esperanza Cordero. It can only be described as a profound work of literature that can be both joyous and heartbreaking as reality central theme. It isn't dark, but it is deep and moving. It is a quick read. You could probably read it one sitting. The story is about Esperanza but sometimes you are drawn into the lives of her friends and family members as well. Esperanza wants what everyone wants. She wants friends, to be accepted, and a real place to call home.
I can go on and on about this book. It is beautiful and poetic. I actually read this book when I was teaching because I used the short vignettes as text for quizzes and short practice assignments. I also used the book heavily to help teach some aspects of creative writing. It isn't a linear story with a traditional plot though. Besides all of that I think it is a book that every person should read (just like everyone should be a server and wait tables for the experience). It definitely doesn't fit with the current trend of vampires and romance but it is lovely all the same. It is simply a work of art...with a purpose.