The House on Mango Street

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.
ISBN: 0679734775 pbk.
110 pp.
$ 9.95

Reader’s Annotation:
A series of vignettes give a stunning and vivid portrayal of a young girl, Esperanza, growing up in the rough and tough Latino section of Chicago.

Author Sandra Cisneros presents a vibrant rendering of life on Mango Street. Cisneros describes every event, every detail, and every person in a way that engraves the image of her neighborhood on one’s mind. Yet, the most vivid image is not of Esperanza’s neighborhood, but of the difference between her neighborhood and everyone else’s. In the chapter entitled, “Those Who Don’t,” on page 28, Esperanza describes this difference:

Those who don’t know any better come into our neighborhood scared. They think we’re dangerous. They think we will attack them with shiny knives. They are stupid people who are lost and got here by mistake. But we aren’t afraid. We know the guy with the crooked eye is Davey the Baby’s brother, and the tall one next to him in the straw brim, that’s Rosa’s Eddie V., and the big one that looks like a dumb grown man, he’s Fat Boy, though he’s not fat anymore nor a boy. All brown all around, we are safe. But watch us drive into a neighborhood of another color and our knees go shakity-shake and our car windows get rolled up tight and our eyes look straight. Yeah. That is how it goes and goes.

Awards: Bestseller
Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award -1985
Boston Globe Bestseller
YALSA Outstanding Books for the College Bound -1999

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