The House on Mango Street Book Review | Teen Ink

The House on Mango Street Book Review

July 8, 2018
By Melissa015 BRONZE, Fontana, California
Melissa015 BRONZE, Fontana, California
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros is a coming of age novel that showcases many themes such as language and names, gender and sexuality, foreignness and society, identity and autonomy, and dreams and beauty. I think people should read this novel because it has a strong message of growing up as well as showing the struggles of being a Mexican-American woman.

This novel is basically about what Esperanza, one of the main characters, experiences while living in her new house on Mango Street located in a poor, mostly Latino neighborhood. Another main character would be Sally. She has a physically abusive father and ends up marrying a man that won’t let her see any of her friends or leave the house. Because of this, Esperanza feels protective of her. Throughout the course of the novel, you get to see how mature Esperanza becomes throughout the year. You also get to see her making friends to enduring sexual assault.

In the beginning of the novel, Esperanza moves into a new house on Mango Street. Then, Cathy befriends Esperanza but their friendship is cut short since her family moves away from Esperanza’s neighborhood. Toward the middle of the novel, a bum offers to pay Rachel a dollar if she were to give him a kiss. In the middle of the novel, an old man kisses Esperanza on her first day at work without her consent because he said it was his birthday and he wanted a birthday kiss. Then Geraldo, a Mexican man who Marin meets at a dance, is killed in an car accident the same night that Marin meets him and the authorities don’t seem to care. Esperanza is humiliated after trying to protect Sally from the group of boys that took her keys. After that happens, Esperanza was then raped at the monkey garden by one of the boys while all the other guys watch. Sally then gets married to a man before she enters the eighth grade. At the end of the novel, Esperanza promises to always come back to Mango Street.

There are many things that I like and dislike about this novel. One of the things I disliked about the novel is the fact that all of the chapters are extremely short. Since the chapters are very short, the topic of discussion changes every one to four pages. For instance, the chapter “Those Who Don’t” is only one page but the writing only covers half a page in length which is not a lot to read about. But other than that I really enjoyed reading the book. Some of the things I liked about the book is that you get to see what it was like to live in the center of poverty and violence. You got to experience what it is like in their shoes. It shows this when it states, “Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.”

All together, “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros is a novel I would recommend readers to read. It gives you a chance to observe what it is like to live in an environment of poverty and violence.This novel showcases many themes and messages that every reader can either relate to or learn from. In conclusion, this novel is one I would recommend everyone to read at least once in their lifetime.


This article has 7 comments.

Navarette-26 said...
on May. 6 2020 at 3:12 am
Navarette-26, La Puente, California
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There is this book called “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, it is about this girl named Esperanza Cordero. Her family isn’t the most wealthy, they live in this poor “sad red house” -page 110 chapter Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes- But she makes most of her time and she talks about the people around her and her friends. Esperanza, being the main character, has two best friends, Rachel and Lucy. Esperanza’s family is her mama, papa, and her little sister, Nenny, and her two brothers. And a couple more friends. This book is wonderful. People should consider reading this book because it’s relatable but also is funny and brings back childhood memories.
This book is sad, but funny to read, it’s sad to read the struggles her family goes through. However Esperanza is unique in her own way, while reading you can tell she is independent and doesn’t want to live in poverty anymore. For example she is mature and understands the gravity of the real world. She comprehends the struggles of poverty and society, but she also enjoys her life as a kid. Esperanza and her friends, I feel keep her innocence, her friends let her be herself but she also controls them when they act too devious. The thing with this book is that it is relatable, the readers can relate to the poverty or the struggles of maturity and immaturity, and wanting to strive for something in life.
One thing I enjoyed is how relatable it is. I didn’t grow up poor but I did have the occasional problems, like when the great recession hit in 2008. But since then things have been fine, but I remember it was hard for my family. It was scary losing the thought of losing a house or maybe a car, “Where would we live?” is a thought that did appear. In the book the mom says “Temporary” and her papa says that too. “But I know how those things go.” said Esperanza. -page 3 Chapter The House on Mango Street- I used to be told the same thing and it felt like my mom gave me an empty heavy cup, and when you looked inside there was nothing in it.
Which helped me understand the author’s purpose, which is to reach out to young latina girls or just young girls in general. She wants them to understand it’s okay to have hopes for a better life. To strive for what you want. I think this book’s purpose is to inspire but also just to have a good read.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I think it’s worth buying and reading. Even for adults, all ages for that fact, this little book is funny, heart-touching, and relatable. I like Esperanza personality, it’s something I wished I had while growing up. I like the way Sandra worded this book because when I painted a picture in my mind. Her words were like the lines and I just colored the picture in. I give this book 5 stars, I truly enjoyed this story. :)

rdeanda11 said...
on Nov. 22 2019 at 12:08 am
rdeanda11, Northridge, California
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The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is about how a young girl named Esperanza talks about her life living on Mango Street. Some parts were silly and lighthearted, and other parts were serious and pretty sad. But it's real life. That's what I admire about the book. It touches on serious topics about what's happening in the real world. Some people sugar coat what's happening but this really faces first world problems. I relate to this story because she's moved from place to place and started to dislike it. I moved around a lot when I was younger and I got tired of it after a while too. Overall this was a very good story.

hamilton911 said...
on Aug. 1 2019 at 7:29 pm
hamilton911, Van Nuys, California
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The house on mango street by Sandra Cisneros, is a short chapter book about how a girl named Esperanza tells us about what happens in her daily life on mango street, and also how she lives in poverty.some chapters are about how funny and silly the characters can be and also some sad experiences they have had including Esperanza.It also talks about how Esperanza does not want to live in mango street anymore.She says "I want a house of my own" she says.The only person I can relate to in this story is Esperanza because she really wants to move out of mango street.I have lived in places I dont like and i wanted to move out of and that's the reason why I can relate to Esperanza.

jjharris said...
on Jul. 25 2019 at 1:12 am
jjharris, Montclair, California
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The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, is a short chapter book bout how a girl named Esperanza tells her life experiences on Mango Street. And living in poverty. Some chapters on how silly some characters were or the sorrow some characters experienced including Esperanza. And how Esperanza wants to move on from her life on Mango Street. “A house of my own.” These characters are easy to relate to in many chapters, thus understanding the story better. I really like how real this book feels because of how relatable some characters are.

Jazz04_life said...
on Jul. 23 2019 at 6:51 pm
Jazz04_life, Fontana, California
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The book That house on Mango street is a good book to read it has valuable life lessons and people can learn from it I recommend this book and I believe that it can tell you to make good choices in life I really do recommend you to read this book.

on Jul. 17 2019 at 4:39 pm
Josephwilson1234, Victorville, California
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I honestly didn't care for this read. It wasn't the best book I have read and I thought it was confusing. It shows how a girl grows and encounters events in her life that many people can relate to as I could which was very interesting. The only main problem that I had was following along. It switched from scene to scene so quickly and I was just really confused with the over all story and how it tied together. I could follow within the individual sections though which was good. But tying it together was a big struggle for me.

uwunathalie said...
on Jul. 17 2019 at 12:42 am
uwunathalie, Canyon Country, California
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In the book “ The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros it establishes a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Some people however did not like the structure of the story that Sandra created which had them hating it. Others did love the story of Esperanza and how she became who she is. However she's always dreamed of a big cozy house with a big yard and lots of room, but they have a run down tiny house has "bricks crumbling in places". With all of the bad things going on around Esperanza, she was very optimistic and made the best of everything she could.
Esperanza always dreams of the perfect home with a large backyard and her own room. When she moves to the house of Mango Street, reality hit her hard and realized her dreams were wrong. Her family was forced to move her parents had purchased the first house that they could afford so they wouldn't have to continue paying rent. However she isn't happy about where she is living but will make the best of it , for example Esperanza states, "I then knew I had to have a house. One I could point to. But this isn't it. The house on Mango Street isn't it. For the time being, Mama said. Temporary, says Papa. But I know how those things go..". Rafaela is a beautiful woman whose husband doesn't let her go out and have freedom because of her beauty. He doesn't want her beauty to rub off from the outside world. Nevertheless Rafaela can disobey her husband orders but she chooses to play the role of a perfect woman and let him be strong and in charge. These are some of the character and problems that they had to deal with.
Throughout reading “The House on Mango Street” I truly enjoyed the book but there was something that I didn't like. it was a very nicely written book, tastefully covering a wide range of topics. Young readers who have had experiences beyond their years may find solace and answers to difficult questions and things not yet understood about life in the pages of this book. The thing that I disliked was the fact that the only character in the book that truly has dimension is Esperanza. Throughout the book, Cisneros tries to critique stereotypes of class and race, yet her characters, except Esperanza, remain cardboard cutouts of people from the slums. Overall it's a good book, with some minor flaws. In the end We see small experiences of a young girl, some that leave deep impressions and others that we would rather skip over because they are dull and quotidian.
Reading this book made me realize how much I should appreciate what I have and it's definitely worth reading. I say you should read this book and see how it's like living in a place that isn't the best for a child to live in. There were many amazing main ideas to this story and should be read if your in High school as an assignment.