The House on Mango Street
Based on 11 reviews
Based on 91 reviews
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street is a coming-of-age novel originally published in 1984 about a girl named Esperanza growing up in a lower income Latino neighborhood in Chicago. The book begins when she's 12 and ends when she turns 14. It features gritty material including child abuse, men who treat their wives like captives, and a scene where a group of boys sexually assault a girl. It's not graphically described, but it's implied that she was raped. Esperanza is a smart, gifted narrator who's determined to say goodbye to her neighborhood and forge a better life and a home of her own. This book is often used in the classroom setting, and parents and teachers can use it to open up a variety of discussions, including about the importance of consent. One mother smokes a cigarette, and there are references to drinking.
I think those who don't like the book need to venture out and read stories about non-white protagonists or just stick to what you know
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Requires maturity, but incredible and realistic
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What's the Story?
In lyrical language, a young girl discusses growing up in a lower-income Latino neighborhood. She tells her story in short vignettes, describing her friends, her family, and her neighbors, and her dream to have a "house all my own... Only a house quiet as snow, a space for myself to go, clean as paper before the poem."
Is It Any Good?
In these short, poetic installments, Sandra Cisneros captures the sadness and desperation Esperanza sees among her neighbors, especially the women. Esperanza writes about her house on Mango Street with "windows so small you'd think they were holding their breath"; her mother, who quit school and pushes her to continue her education; and her friend Sally, who gets married too young to escape her house, only to end up trapped by her husband, who doesn't allow her to see friends or leave the house. There's also the confusion that comes with growing up, and the beauty in small moments, like riding a bike with friends.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the writing in The House on Mango Street. The book is written in vignettes. Is this an effective way to tell a story? How would the book have been different if it had been a more straightforward novel?
The House on Mango Street was first published in 1984. Why do you think it has had such a lasting appeal? Do you think it's still as relevant as it was when it was published?
- Author: Sandra Cisneros
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Vintage Books
- Publication date: April 9, 1991
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 128
- Last updated: October 9, 2021
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