Meh on Mango Street

This collection of vignettes is a box of chocolates. Some are joyous and fun others are poignant or foreboding. Each is a slice of life for Esperanza Cordero growing up in Chicago.

The House on Mango Street is a coming-of-age story about Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago. The novel is told in a series of vignettes, or short stories, that follow Esperanza as she deals with the challenges of adolescence, poverty, and racism.

This book is read all over academic discussions. Some may have read it in high school or college. I have to expect that reading to book as part of a literary discussion would have been a lot more gratifying. The book is filled with allusions and metaphors. I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if I had read a single chapter at a time and spent time reflecting, dissecting, and absorbing the material. But that's not normal life.

As it is, I read the book in a couple of sittings griding through the tiny chapters. I would binge through four or five of the vignettes before reflecting on what I was reading and as a result, it felt like I didn't get much out of it. At the normal pace of reading, I looked past a lot of the beauty and poetry of the work. I felt lost in a sea of stories that were tethered together without being a complete story altogether.

Although there were moments of beauty, for the most part, this wasn't something that I wanted to pick up and read. The good moments felt like a reward, but they were in the minority. Overall, it was okay. If you're thinking of reading this one I would recommend spending time reflecting on what Cisernos is saying about femininity, race, and privilege in America after each chapter.


Coming of Age
Short Stories
Young Adult