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The House on Mango Street

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Love this book

This book was first introduced to me in college. I loved it then and I love it now. The style that Cisneros uses in this book is amazing. I would recommend this book for anyone. I also plan on teaching this book in my classroom in the coming years.

posted by KDW679 on May 23, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

12 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

Creepy for 9th grade required reading

I read this book because my it was required for my 13 year old's summer reading program. It is completely inappropriate for a child entering 9th grade. I question its value for ANY high school grade. As an adult, I found it offensive, and poorly written, The book had in...
I read this book because my it was required for my 13 year old's summer reading program. It is completely inappropriate for a child entering 9th grade. I question its value for ANY high school grade. As an adult, I found it offensive, and poorly written, The book had inappropriate subject matter, and should have come with a warning. Why any school would choose this book, when there are so many excellent books out there, is beyond my comprehension. No 13 year old child should have to read a book that discusses sexual abuse. I plan to complain to my child's school district.

posted by Mom62 on August 8, 2009

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    The House on Mango Street review

    This book is a series of vignettes, or brief episodes, about the becoming of a woman for Esperanza. Esperanza is a young Hispanic. She is very naïve and she doesn't understand a lot when it comes to the problems of life. She keeps most of everything to herself, she don't share a lot of her feelings with everyone else. She is growing up in a large family and they don't have very much money. In the vignettes, the story of Esperanza's life is told. She has moved from place to place. She went from trailers to apartments. She has never lived in a house until Mango Street. From then on, her life has changed in ways you couldn't imagine.
    She runs into many new friends, people with problems, and problems of her own. She meets Rafaela; she is a woman who drinks coconut and papaya juice on Tuesdays. Rafaela's husband thinks that she is so pretty that she will run away, so he makes her stay in the house. On Tuesday, she asks Esperanza to buy her coconut or papaya juice. Lucy and Rachel's, girls she meets and becomes best friends with, baby sister dies. Also, there is this girl who's dad makes her stay up all day and night to study so she can go to college. She sees mice during the night.
    Boys are everywhere, school, home, neighborhood, everywhere. Boys don't hang out with the girls, boys don't like girls until they grow into young women then all boys want are girls, no matter how they have to get them. Esperanza found that out the hard way.
    The author, Sandra Cisneros, showed, in this novel, that Esperanza will always be there to help the people, she meet, through their hardship. Sandra Cisneros did a great job of portraying this. Esperanza goes from a young naïve Hispanic to a strong, willful, young adult. Find out her journey through the good times and hardships. Find out how Esperanza made it through everything and is ready to take on more problems, even if they aren't Esperanza's personally.
    This book is a great book for teenage girls, who are becoming a woman or going through puberty. This book showed me my life could be worst and if it was how I could make it through the tough times. This book showed me that the world is tough, how to make it through the tough times, and how to help other people make it through their tough times. I know I will do my best to help everyone I can, as I hope you will to after reading this book.

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  • Posted May 18, 2011

    Strongly Recommend

    House On Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros
    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

    House on Mango Street is a coming of age story about a girl named Esperanza. The story follows her as she runs into bumps in the road while trying to discover who she is. Esperanza is an ambitious, strong-minded girl who, throughout the story, learns that no matter where she came from, she can choose the life she wants to live.

    I, personally, love this book, and have read it many times over. The short stories are easy for almost any girl transitioning into adulthood to relate to. The way that the story is written is beautifully simplistic. "...nobody could make you sad and nobody would think you're strange because you like to dream and dream ... all you wanted, all you wanted, Sally, was to love and to love and to love, and no one could call that crazy." Cisneros' writing is almost like poetry. It is simple yet profound.

    This book is comforting to a young person that feels that life can be unfair and struggles to stay strong through every hard time. It helps to show that you're not alone when you feel weak, embarrassed, or trapped. I would not recommend this book to someone that likes action and suspense in a book, but I definitely do recommend it to someone that can see the simple beauty in different styles of writing, and especially to a young adult.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2010

    Highly recommended - Truly an unforgettable book

    The House on Mango Street is about a 12 year old girl named Esperanza who is faced with life's harsh reality. Esperanza is a young Latina girl that grows up in a Chicago barrio. She fantasizes about her ideal world throughout the book allowing the reader to explore bits and pieces of her life through vignettes. As you begin to become familiar with her character, it is clear what she wants and how much she wants it. It makes you wonder if she will be able to fulfill her dreams and make her dream life for herself or if her strong roots and Mango Street will hold her back. The author, Sandra Cisneros, did a wonderful job portraying a realistic view of what a young girls life might really be like with those circumstances. It took me a little while to get used to her style of writing, which is much like a typical 12 year old's writing. Some people have found or may find that the writing style was too confusing or messy and unorganized for their liking, but I found that it was a breath of fresh air. I thought the entire book was creative and colorful. Sad stories, joyful stories, and exciting stories were mixed into one book giving me a shower of different emotions. The writing style was really new to me, but I thought that it made the book seem more fun to read. I looked forward to picking it up again, and felt it was easy and enjoyable to read. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast, fun, creative, touching book. I absolutely loved this book and will never forget it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2010

    Love The Book!

    I love this book so much! Even though it is a tough book to read. Each chapter is different from the one before, in other words each chapter does not talk about the one before. The author Sandra Cisneros outdid herself in this book. I imagine that it was hard for her to write each chapter, not referring to the anything that was said before. She did a very a good job portraying 12 year old Esperanza. Esperanza tells us all her stories but very briefly. She tells us how it is living a Latino neighborhood in Chicago, and sometimes you can tell that she is scared. She goes through the story telling us how much she wants to get out of the neighborhood and how she wants to do something with her life. What makes the book even better is than the reader can relate to the story. How? Well everybody has struggles in their life, whether they are big or small and Esperanza defiantly has a struggle that many people can relate to. The character herself was sort of mature for her age. Don't get me wrong, she had her moments where she was just acting like a 12 year old. I really liked how she handled some things in the story and didn't just sit there and pout about it. Then she also had her moments about other things that really could have been solved another way. Instead of complaining of what she didn't have she should have been grateful of what she did have. Then use the anger of not having certain things motivate you to do something about it. The other characters didn't really have a background but it was enough for me to understand and to grasp. Besides for a story like this one, there really is no need to give so much background on the other characters. Esperanza is the one telling the story and she described the characters pretty well enough to get a mental picture of what they look like. I liked that she had something to say about each of the other characters. It made it even more interesting that she had some sort of relationship with each of them. There isn't much to say about the setting of the book, because the book didn't really revolve around the setting. Also it wasn't mentioned too much in the book. She does describe her surroundings like the people around her. That is something that worries her because if she does not get out soon then she could end up leading a life like the women around her. One particular character named Sally I really enjoyed hearing about. I just love how when Esperanza meets a new person, she immediately creates a relationship with the person. Of course she wanted to get to know Sally because she liked the way Sally dressed and how she did her makeup. Also she liked how Sally was so confident and secretly that's what she wants to be. She aspires to be confident and pretty and just to be on her own. Overall the story was a nice one, and I loved the conclusion. The conclusion may have taught me something about not leaving behind family. It taught me something but to another reader it could have taught that person a completely different lesson. Of course it was hard to read the book because of the style it was written so I took some notes on each chapter. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2010

    "The House on Mango Street"

    My novel that I read was The House on Mango Street. There are different categories in the story that are dealt in reality. Because of that, the story is very interesting and catchy. The moral of the story is about living a difficult life as a Latino in the ghetto and trying to escape hard times and finding the real warm safe place. It's also about finding yourself throughout everybody that stereotypes otherwise. Additionally, there are several categories under this message such as violence, sex, setting role models and drugs. There is not that much violence in the story but rape and child abuse does occur. The rape can also be used as sex but is used mainly by how guys force girls on them and how sex opens up minds in different ways. All these categories in this message lead to one another because the sex and violence then leads to drugs which sets and makes a real role model. For instance, many times (not all) guys are high from drugs or drunk from drinking which makes them do the things they do or the other way around where they try to stop doing what they do so they drink or smoke to take their mind off of it. And doing all this would lead to being a role model to the people, kids, generation watching you. When these kids want to grow up to be like somebody they see or know they try to do everything just like that person and because this story has many bad role models it leads to destruction in peoples' lives. The author, Sandra Cisneros, is a very intelligent and smart young Latina lady. She brings this story to reality! Many cases today are described as in this novel. Yes it talks about violence, has mild language, and bad husbands but it also shows how a certain Hispanic character does not want to live that type of life-style so she looks up to herself and makes decisions that may help her future. In my opinion, "The House on Mango Street" should be read in every high school because there are many young teenagers today who are living a life like this character and are trying to live a better life then what is expected from others. Sandra Cisneros does a great job making this novel because she is setting an example to anybody who reads this by showing that they can make a change in their lives and it's never too late. She's showing us all how to reverse the stereotypes that are made. So go ahead and make a change in your life, get up and read "The House on Mango Street" and make your future the future you wish for.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    I love this Book

    The House On Mango Street is a story about a girl trying to find herself, finding out who she is and where she belongs. During that time Esperanza (the protagonist) talks about a bunch of things that goes on in her life. One thing she tells us is about her first job. Esperanza did want a job and the catholic school she was in cost a lot and her dad told her that she could go to public school only if she wanted to turn out bad.
    When Esperanza got her first job her Aunt had to lie about her age so she could get the job. It was the same place that Esperanza's Aunt use to work. Another thing she talks about is wanting a house of her own were she can write and day dream. Esperanza is a girl who loves to write and hopes to become a writer and write books someday. Esperanza's family is Mexican and live in Chicago. Her style is very laid back she is nice and loves her parents also she is a little funny.
    This book is very different from any book I have ever read its very unique. The book does have a few things in Spanish because Esperanza is Mexican she speaks Spanish. The book has a introduction and in the introduction Esperanza starts talking about things going on at the moment after the introduction that's when Esperanza talks about her life when she was younger before she had figured out who she was and what she was going to do with her life. It's a really good book and I recommend that you read it.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Read it for English

    When I was in 7th gread my english class read 'The House On Mango Street' together.
    I didn't think I'd like it, but I found that I could some what identify with some of the characther.....

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  • Posted October 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I had to read this for an English assignment.

    In the book, "House on Mango Street" it teaches about growing up. Esperanza grew up in poverty in a poor Latino neighborhood in the late 1960's.
    From the descriptions, it sounds to me like the houses are close together, and not in very well shape. Esperanza goes through so many changes, and ups and downs. She was going through that time of age, where you're trying to figure out who you are. She found a friend, who she completely admired. But that friend, Sally, left her for boys. While sally was out with them, some other boys were sexually assaulting Esperanza. Even then, she was still finding out who she was. By the end of the book, she finds out who she is, she realizes she can do better, she deserves better and she starts to believe in herself.

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  • Posted August 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    hey ya'll ma nae is clauda grimaldo and i'm a high school student ... over ma years i have read some awsome books novells... ect... i never liked reading because i never had the right book...

    in 8th grade i read a book in m spanish class... the name o the book was the house on mango street... ever scince i read that book i tried to look for it... i have never been a big fan of readin ... but i believe that this book opened ma eyes ... it tought me that their is books i can enjoy with out being forced to read it... this book was the boom man ... i would highly recomend this book to any latinos like me to read this book... i have sayd enough... thanks 4 ur attention and hope 2 post a review of another book later on...

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    An Extremely Biased Review of The House on Mango Street

    Have you ever believed that you just didn¿t belong? That there was more in your future than what was expected? Welcome to Esperanza¿s world as she makes it through living on Mango Street. Once Esperanza and her five other family members first move into their new house they are disappointed, but grateful too for finally possessing their very own home. Growing up in a tough neighborhood can be hard, although Esperanza and her little sister Nenny pass the days by playing with the other kids of Mango Street. One day Esperanza becomes friends with a teenager named Sally. Esperanza looks up to her until the day Sally leaves her alone when Esperanza most needs her. Eventually Esperanza learns about who she is and how she should accept herself with the help of observing and talking with the people around her.<BR/> In my mind there is no doubt this book was written beautifully, there is nothing I would change. Sandra Cisneros (the author) can paint the picture in your head extremely well, for instance on page 21, ¿Meme has a dog with gray eyes, a sheepdog with two names, one in English and one in Spanish. The dog is big, like a man dressed in a dog suit, and runs the same way its owner does, clumsy and wild and with the limbs flopping all over the place like untied shoes.¿ I love how she relates ¿limbs flopping¿ with ¿untied shoes¿ to give you a better idea of what Meme¿s running looks like, because I know I couldn¿t have ever thought of that. Another example of Sandra Cisneros¿s writing is on page 17 of House on Mango Street, ¿Nenny and I don¿t look like sisters¿ not right away¿ me and Nenny, we are more alike than you would know. Our laughter for example. Not the shy ice cream bell¿s giggle of Rachel and Lucy¿s family, but all of a sudden and surprised like a pile of dishes breaking.¿ In this passage from the book Sandra Cisneros gives us great examples of how she can make you imagine the story. Through-out the book you catch metaphors that were thrown in to give the plot more meaning and they honestly do. House on Mango Street is an excellent read and I can¿t even explain how much I was moved by it.<BR/> The story of Esperanza growing up in the House on Mango Street is one of my favorite books, and I¿ll try my best to encourage anyone to read it. While reading the book I would stop to ponder, ¿What will happen next?¿ Although this book isn¿t one of those that leaves you on the tip of your seat, its one of those books that makes you think and wonder. On page 108 when Esperanza is talking about the type of house she would want when she grows up, ¿Only a house quiet as snow, a space for myself to go, clean as paper before the poem,¿ I really did wonder if Esperanza would find that house for herself some day and I wished that she would. In conclusion, House on Mango Street is powerful, peaceful, and thought-provoking; it¿s the type of book that can teach you a life lesson in only 110 pages.

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    The House on Mango Street review

    Never give up on your dream because you will reach it if you really try. This story is about how Esperanza fulfills her dream through the faith that she will. This story is also about growing up and the transition from a girl to a woman and the struggle with friends and other things that are out of Esperanza¿s control. Never give up on your dream, don¿t ever let anyone stop you from reaching your dream.<BR/>In The House on Mango Street, Esperanza wants to move out of her neighborhood because there is so much violence and fighting and restraining and unhappiness. She is not proud of the house that she lives in and when a nun comes to her house she thinks that her house is worth nothing. Esperanza struggles with the fact that she is growing up and her friend, Sally, begins to flirt with some boys and Esperanza is angry because she does not know why they would do that, ¿I said, Sally, come on, but she wouldn¿t. She stayed by the curb talking to Tito and his friends. Play with the kids if you want, she said, I¿m staying here. She could be stuck-up like that if she wanted to, so I just left. It was her own fault too. When I got back Sally was pretending to be mad¿ something about the boys having stolen her keys. Please give them back to me, she said punching the nearest one with a soft fist. They were laughing. She was too. It was a joke I didn¿t get. I wanted to go back with the other kids¿but Sally had her own game. One of the boys invented the rules. One of Tito¿s friends said you can¿t get the keys back unless you kiss us and Sally pretended to be mad at first but she said yes. It was that simple. I don¿t know why, but something inside me wanted to throw a stick. Something wanted to say no when I watched Sally going into the garden with Tito¿s buddies all grinning. It was just a kiss, that¿s all¿ Only how come I felt angry inside. Like something wasn¿t right. ¿ I took three big sticks and a brick... But when I got there Sally said go home. Those boys said leave us alone. I felt stupid with my brick. They all looked at me as if I was the one that was crazy and made me feel ashamed.¿ Esperanza felt that Tito and his friends were being a threat to Sally and went to make sure Sally was okay but instead was shunned. She did not understand why Sally and Tito and his friends would want to play a kissing game... Esperanza wanted to get out of her neighborhood because she didn¿t like it. When three old women came to visit, they told her what she wanted to know. ¿What¿s your name, the cat-eyed one asked. Esperanza, I said. Esperanza, the old blue-veined one repeated in a high thin voice. Esperanza¿a good name. Look at her hands, cat-eyed said.And they turned them over and over as if they were looking for something.She¿s special.Yes,she¿ll go very far.Yes, yes, hmmm.Make a wish.A wish?Yes, make a wish¿I closed my eyes.Did you wish already?Yes, I said.Well, that¿s all there is to it. It¿ll come true.How do you know? I asked.We know, we know.¿Esperanza.What?You must remember to come back. For the ones who cannot leave as easily as you. You will remember? She asked... Yes, yes, I said a little confused. Good, she said...¿ This is the part where Esperanza wishes that she could get out of her neighborhood and one of the old ladies tells her that she must always come back for the rest of the people who cannot get out. In the end Esperanza finds what she is looking for.<BR/>In conclusion, never ever give up on your dream no matter what. It will come true.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2008

    one of my new favorites

    i really enjoyed this book. It was short and sweet but filled with deeper meanings in each story. I really identified with esperanza because she loved to write and her aunt told her to keep writing because thats what sets her free. Esperanza doesn't understand what she means until the end of the novel. The story is about esperanza and her families house on mango street which is in a low-income section of chicago. Esperanze dreams of one day having a house of her own but she learns not to forget where she came from. I would read this book again. It was very poetic and some of the chapters you may have to reread to understand the deeper meaning. It was still an easy read, i finished it in two days. I would recommend this book to everyone. I really wish I had came across it in high school because it would have motivated me to focus more on my future. Also read this book if your into writing, Sandy Cisneros is a great writer. I've started writing vignettes and it is a great writing excersize.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2008

    The House On Mango Street

    The House on Mango Street This novel is not only about a young girl and the rough path that leads her to ¿bums in the attic¿ but also, about the life style changes she has to face with the fact of being a low income Mexican girl. In the novel The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Esperanza is faced with the difficulty of her heritage as well as her families financial status. In the vignette, A Rice Sandwich, Esperanza pesters her mother into write her a note, giving her permission to eat at the canteen and to pack her a lunch. Her mother is reluctant at first, but after it becomes clear that none of the other kids will need bag lunches, she writes a note for Esperanza and packs her a sandwich, one made of rice since the family cannot afford lunch meat. Becoming a young lady, Esperanza gets her first job at the local photo shop. Here Esperanza feels extremely out of place and eats in the bathroom or closet. As the days go on Esperanza becomes very comfortable around an older man. One day Esperanza goes into work and the older man tricks Esperanza into kissing him. Esperanza soon learns that being of a different race and the opposite sex can lead to very dangerous thing as we see in not only ¿The First Job¿ but also in ¿Red Clowns¿ were Esperanza become extremely violated by a group of people. In the vignette ¿A House of My Own¿, Esperanza tells us how she learns from her life experiences through the way she describes her future home. All together I enjoyed the novel immensely and recommend the book to any one who has looked down not only on their heritage but, also on them selves. Or any one who has felt out of step with the world around them or loves books about someone with a rough life and still ends up being and doing amazing things. This book has taught me to not only except my self as a human being but also others and they way they look and experience things.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2007

    Wonderfully rich!

    I had to read this lovely little book as an english class assignment. As a writer, I appreciate Cisnero's original and captivating style. Every word had a hidden pocket of meaning. For those who found the character 'flat' ought not to call themselves readers. It took some analytical thought to truly ingest this beautifully poetic work. For those with a love a reading 'and a lover of thought' I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2007

    'Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor.'--The House on Mango Street

    I could not comprehend the poor reviews this book received. If you reach into the very heart of The House on Mango Street, you will notice that it is characterized by a distinct, yet delicious prose that lingers in the soul and mind. It is told by a keenly observant young girl named Esperanza Codero about her childhood neighborhood in a section of Chicago. Through her descriptions and acquired knowledge of herself, her surroundings and neighbors on Mango Street she comes of age and eventually loses her innocence, but not her optimism. Esperanza realizes only vaguely in the novella that the people on Mango Street will not progress especially the women '...the way so many woman sit their sadness on an elbow...', looking out the window for some type of escape. Esperanza's descriptive passage into adulthood occurs quite suddenly when she is sexually harassed and tricked by an older boy. 'Sally you lied...The way the it's supposed to be in all the storybooks and movies...' Esperanza is by nature a dreamer, but she is also a fighter because she makes a crucial decision towards the last pages of her childhood--to leave Mango Street for her own destiny, identity, and freedom/control over her life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2007

    Great book

    The House on Mango Street is a personal story about the events in a young girl¿s life. It is not only about a girl named Esperanza, but also about the other people in her circle of family and friends. The story of her family and friends help shape her ideas and dreams as she grows into a young woman. Esperanza is full of dreams and plans. She knows very well all the things she wants to change in her life. She has every detail on how things might be better. She should know because for her, things couldn¿t get much worse. In one part of the book, her mother bought her a new dress and undergarments for an important family celebration. Unfortunately, she forgets to buy new shoes to complete the outfit. Maybe her mother just couldn¿t afford to get them. So there was Esperanza at the party feeling humiliated. She had on a new party dress wearing her white and brown saddle shoes normally worn to school every day. This is just one example of Esperanza¿s misfortune. Esperanza really wants to fit in. In another part of the book she deals with a situation at school. At the school there are children who eat their lunch in the canteen instead of going home for lunch. This is because they live far away. To Esperanza this is the ultimate treat to be able to eat in the canteen with the other kids. She then begs her mother to write a note and make her a lunch so she can eat at the canteen. Her mother resists and then gives in. She writes the note and makes her a rice sandwich. The next day Esperanza happily goes to school with her lunch and note only to be singled out at lunch time. She is questioned and told to see the supervising Nun. The Nun reads her note and does not believe her. Esperanza then has to point out her house from inside the school window as the Nun comments disapprovingly. Feeling defeated, Esperanza breaks down and cries. Finally she is allowed to eat her lunch which has become soggy by then. This book is a great story about the personal life a young girl. It leaves no emotion or pain unspoken. It tells Esperanza¿s feelings so you can really understand and feel what this girl is feeling as she grows up. I think this book has great value. It will expand your mind by seeing into someone else¿s world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2007

    College student

    Excellent book to analyze use of language for hidden agendas. The first time I read this story was for a anaylsis of literature class and the book was confusing. Then, the professor demonstrated that each small chapter had more depth and meaning. In some chapters each sentence has great depth and hidden meaning. Words in this book are choosen analyze, the age of innocence to experience, and how important writing can be for the young girl trapped in her life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2007

    Required to read it, but not to like it

    This was a very odd book to pick up. I was expecting something that...well would honestly take more than two hours. Despite this, The House on Mango Street was an amazing book. It is best to read it with a class or with cliff notes because on the surface it seems to be filled with pointless stories. But if you think through each story and spend time on it, you will understand what is truly going on. It is best for mature audiences, less mature people would probably not even know what is going. It deals deeply with heritage, stereotypes, and relationships. I think, as being a mexican and having a connection with this type of culture, I identify with it more. One thing that may make this book harder to read is the lack of quotation marks in dialouge. But it is told from the perspective a pre-teen/teenager, so I think it adds character development. It gives a more realistic effect. All in all, an amazing work. Watch this author...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2006

    Life: A Fruit in Itself

    After recently finishing the novel, I would have to say this is one of the best coming of age 'autobiographies' that I have ever encountered. The amount of detail that Cisneros includes and the figurative language spread throughout the entire book definitely enticed me to complete the book, as this is a novel I would have normally found no interest in. Obviously 'rewriting' sections of the book from her own experience, this novel is a definite must read, and I would highly recommend this amazing book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2006


    She has double meanings all over her book. So it is great for a wide age group. The metaphors mean many things in this book. She has great symbolism in this book.

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