sandra cisneros

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.

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