Review: The House on Mango Street

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The House on Mango StreetBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The House on Mango Street, a short series of vignettes published in 1984 and written by Sandra Cisneros. Picture it: Long Island, August 1995. 18-year-old college student receives a letter in the mail, revealing two books he must read prior to attending the freshmen orientation seminar on his first day of college later that month. Young kid says “They’re giving me work to do already? WT…” It went something like that. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to read, and I was a good student, but seriously… I’m scared of going off to college and already being told to start doing some work. Can’t I have some break before I… never mind. So I read it. And wow, it’s fantastic. A short collection of stories about growing up in Chicago, learning how to live on your own (sort of). Meeting different people. Seeing other sides of life. Learning more than you thought was out there. Embracing change and culture.

Oh… I get it… that’s what’s about to happen to me! Wow… nice book. Thanks. So then I get to the orientation. And they want us to discuss it in a random group that was set up. So we get put in groups of 6. I’m with some weird-looking people. At 18, I looked about 12 still. For some reason, I got stuck with the other 18-year-olds who looked 28. I wanted to call them mom and dad. But I knew better. I kept my mouth shut. Sandra Cisneros has just taught me that. So… I’m very shy and don’t say a word. No one speaks. I realize I guess I must say something. So I said. “I liked it a lot.” Everyone nodded. I said something like “what did you think?”

I’ll save you the drama. None of them read it. I was the only one who did. How embarrassing for them! It was so good… but I played it cool and described the plot. It seemed to open up the conversation, but then we were asked to nominate a leader to step up to the stage and explain your group’s understanding of the book. Oh you know… vengeance… some day… payback…

My lesson. Don’t ever read a book again. JUST KIDDING! You must read this one. It’s a beautiful story and helps you embrace change and difference. And the characters are quite memorable and quirky. Quick read. Maybe 2 hours. You should definitely give it a chance.

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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6 thoughts on “Review: The House on Mango Street

    Rae Longest said:
    June 16, 2017 at 2:28 PM

    This was the first book I listened to on cassette in the car, going back and forth to the university, and the first book by Cisneros I read. I loved it and since I was listening instead of reading, I picked up a few Spanish words and phrases. Now, I further my Spanish by asking Hispanic friends and employees at fast food places, “Como dice in espanol…” and add the English word. We went to a Latino wedding last Saturday for the cleaning friend, given by her daughter whom I tutor (for free) and whose grandchildren are frequent visitors with their Mom, and we were the only Gringos there. It was one of the most delightful parties I’ve ever been to and we met so many kind, patient (in trying to understand us and to “educate” us) people. We made a lot of amigos! Down here in Texas, especially our little town, Caucasians like us are in the minority. Most businesses want bi-lingual employees. Sometimes when I am explaining things to a non-native speaker student, throwing in a Spanish word or phrase can “turn on the lightbulb.” House on Mango Street set all this in motion many years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 16, 2017 at 2:35 PM

      Another amazing story from you. That’s he best way to pick up language be immersed around it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Ann Marie Bryant said:
    June 16, 2017 at 4:43 PM

    I love Sandra Cisneros! She is one of my all time favorite authors. I have read The House on Mango Street many times. Have you read her book, Woman Hollering Creek? Another good read.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 16, 2017 at 4:44 PM

      No, I haven’t. I am creating a much bigger To Read list as I go back to write the reviews from books I read in the past. I’ll look this one up, thanks.


    ae1989 said:
    July 2, 2017 at 9:14 PM

    I’m about half way through this book and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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