Friday, June 4, 2010

The House on Mango Street

I have had the intention of reading this book for close to four years but just never really got around to it. I grabbed a copy and was surprised at how short it was - that was probably some of the reason for my delay was not sure I wanted to conquer a huge book. I also had the expectation that the level of reading would be harder than it was. Again, I have kicked myself for waiting so long to read this.

This is the story of Esperanza, a young girl who is living in a house that she does not have any pride in. It is in a rundown neighborhood with all sorts of events taking place that children learn about before they should. She shares stories and memories of this house, revealing incredible details about her culture and the conflicts that arise in desolate circumstances as people are trying to improve their lives, maintain their identity or escape their various prisons.

The voice in this book is incredible. Esperanza felt real, like she was taking me on a tour of this town and speaking with a truth that is only afforded to a child. I had read many different multi-cultural books dealing with the African Americans and their conflicts in assuming an American identity, and even a few with Oriental narrators, but this was my first with a Latina. Their issues are real and I am still torn by the character who, when her baby starts to speak English instead of Spanish, cries loudly "No, no, no". Very powerful and truly beautiful little book.


Harmony said...

I read a children's book (10 and up probably) with similar themes last winter. Interestingly enough, the main character was also named Esperanza. The title is Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan.

Tasha said...

That is one that I need to get to as well - I've heard great things about it.