Books in Brief: "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros


THE TITLE: The House on Mango Street (1984)

THE AUTHOR: Acclaimed Mexican American writer Sandra Cisneros, who received many accolades after this – her first novel. She is a major figure in Chicana literature. 

THE BRIEF: In this popular coming-of-age novel, Esperanza Cordero is our protagonist: a young woman living in Chicago, determined to leave her impoverished neighbourhood and the suffocating environment in which she finds herself. She is the focus of a series of vignettes featuring her neighbors, in a now classic book that is read by high school students throughout America. 

THE FIRST PAGE: “The boys and girls live in separate worlds. The boys in their universe and we in ours. My brothers for example. They’ve got plenty to say to me and Nenny inside the house. But outside they can’t be seen talking to girls. Carlos and Kiki are each other’s best friend… not ours.”


The Chicago Tribune: “One of the great Chicago novels, a cascade of memory, idea and budding sensuality, and one of the finest books penned about finding, understanding, keeping, leaving and (eventually) returning to your place."

The LA Times: "Sandra Cisneros has worked hard to surpass the reputation of "The House on Mango Street," the tale of a Mexican American girl coming of age in Chicago. In the 31 years since that novel was published, she has written short story collections, books of poetry, a children's book and another novel — but that early book continues to define her."