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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I am a red balloon tied to an anchor."
A series of vignettes, rather than a structured novel, House on Mango Street is Sandra Cisneros's semi-autobiographical account of growing up Chicana in a poor area of Chicago. Esperanza Cordero, at age eleven, has already discovered that being able to communicate in English is a key to worldly success, and she has begun recording stories of her neighborhood, friends, and...
Published on 27 Sep 2005 by Mary Whipple

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
I liked this book well enough. No, I didn't love it. But I really did like it.

I don't mind the fact that the scenes seemed to be a little disconnected and random, and I don't mind the format of the book either - which is written in a series of vignettes. The style is poetic and is filled with strong and beautiful imagery - making it quite the visual book...
Published 8 months ago by S. Shamma


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I am a red balloon tied to an anchor.", 27 Sep 2005
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The House on Mango Street (Paperback)
A series of vignettes, rather than a structured novel, House on Mango Street is Sandra Cisneros's semi-autobiographical account of growing up Chicana in a poor area of Chicago. Esperanza Cordero, at age eleven, has already discovered that being able to communicate in English is a key to worldly success, and she has begun recording stories of her neighborhood, friends, and everyday life, hoping one day to become a writer. Recreating one year of her life, she vividly depicts the children's fierce loyalties to each other, their alienation from mainstream society, and their goals in life, sadly limited by the culture and its low expectations for girls and women.
Maintaining a childish innocence, Esperanza's first person account reveals her growing awareness of alternatives to her Mango Street existence. She is saddened that her friend Sally, an abused child, never escapes, marrying very early ("in a state where children can marry before they have finished eighth grade"). Alicia, an older, highly motivated friend, however, works to achieve an education and spends long hours traveling to and from school so that she can move beyond Mango Street. Her prescient Aunt Lupe tells Esperanza to "Keep writing. It will keep you free," and a psychic tells her that she must work hard and write so that she can "come back for those who cannot make it out on their own."
Dealing with everyday issues of maturity, a growing awareness of her own sexuality, and her resentment of a world which does not value women, Esperanza is an astute observer, telling stories filled with the humor, wonder, and sometimes heartbreak. As she tells about innocently riding in a stolen car; about the death of her friend Marin's boyfriend whose Mexican parents will never hear of his death because no one knows where to find them; about being assaulted while waiting for her friend Sally, who never answers her pleas for help; about Mamacita, who never leaves her apartment because she is cannot communicate in English; and about her own mother's inability to travel on public transportation because she is afraid, she recreates Mango Street with all its limitations--and excitements.
Like a red balloon which wants to escape its anchor, Esperanza dreams of having a better home, a better life, and greater opportunities. "I have decided not to grow up tame," she says, but she is firmly anchored to Mango Street through her experiences, and these, she discovers ironically, will eventually become the source material for her writing. Through Mango Street, Esperanza defines herself, but through her writing, she will set herself free. Mary Whipple
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Perfect, 18 Sep 2011
This review is from: The House on Mango Street (Paperback)
This is a cross between poetry and prose, each word just so. I cannot disagree more with the reviewer who said this breathtaking piece of literature is dull. If you are looking for a zippy, pop lit storyline, then this is probably not for you. However, if you are interested in seeing the craft of writing at its best, than this is a must read and must own. Cisneros is a gifted writer who in a Hemingway-esque way buries layer after layer of meaning in straightforward prose while also exploring the inner disappointments and triumphs of a lovely, complex young protagonist. I have read this book many times over, but from my first read I have carried the characters of Mango Street in my heart. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A strong leading character!, 22 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The House on Mango Street (Paperback)
A really touching novel about a child who tries to find her way in life. In this novel you will meet a lot of strong women identities, but also a lot of suppressed ones, which gives a good picture of the life they must go through in their search for the American Dream. Esperanza is a strong character, whom you will fall in love with in no time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, 6 April 2014
By 
S. Shamma "Suad" (Abu Dhabi, UAE) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The House on Mango Street (Paperback)
I liked this book well enough. No, I didn't love it. But I really did like it.

I don't mind the fact that the scenes seemed to be a little disconnected and random, and I don't mind the format of the book either - which is written in a series of vignettes. The style is poetic and is filled with strong and beautiful imagery - making it quite the visual book actually.

My problem with it lies in the fact that it was quite overhyped for me. Meaning, I expected a lot more from the book than I actually got, and that seems to be a typical scenario with books that get lower ratings than deserved - expectations.

I won't go into what the story is about because all other reviewers have done so - all you need to know is that it is a series of moments from Esperanza's life. Esperanza being a latino girl who lives with her family in America and who conveys some of her experiences in growing up as a Mexican American girl.

Unfortunately, even though we meet a lot of seemingly interesting characters in Esperanza's life, we never do get a clear fair chance at getting to know them better. The story lacks character depth, and a clear path. I often found myself daydreaming and losing focus as I go into paragraphs of flowery descriptions and wordy imagery.

That being said, the book is a quick light read for someone looking for an easy weekend book or a before going to sleep book.

As reviewer William Capodanno put it brilliantly and accurately: "After I finished the book, I felt like I do after having a meal at a restaurant where the appetizer is delicious and then you get just an average entree. Cisneros whets your appetite but leaves you disappointment with your whole experience."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sandra Cisneros knows how to write!, 29 July 2011
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This review is from: The House on Mango Street (Paperback)
I love Cisneros style. It's poetic, and simple, and true. And this is a simple story, about waiting for your life to begin, and about people living with small things. You'll have to appreciate it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple incite into growing in a Paternalistic community, 13 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Cisneros' series of vignettes is an interesting look at how a young girl feels growing up in paternalistic society. Determined not to grow up a victim like the women she sees around her, Esperanza, uses writing as a way of escape. While there is little action, there is many interesting, subtle observations which make this book readable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 23 Nov 2014
By 
S. H. Pedersen "putte88" (Køge, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The House on Mango Street (Paperback)
A diary-like book. Not difficult language.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hopeful Lationo girl's poignant display of her life., 29 Nov 2001
By A Customer
People are scarred to go down Mango Street, the run down nieghborhood subject to much shame. Esperanza will captivate you as she displays the truth of the lower class Latino neighborhood by examining the unique inhabitants. Shame, beauty, destiny and love are familiar with the area as well.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, 14 Mar 2010
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This review is from: The House on Mango Street (Paperback)
This is meant to be a modern classic, but I found it almost unberably dreary. A lot of unconnected scenes - vignettes, if you want to be pretentious - that don't add up to much. At least it's short.
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The House on Mango Street
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Paperback - 19 July 2004)
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