For anyone who has ever dreamed of being someone else when they grow up. Anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t belong. Anyone who knew they were meant for something more… this is the story for you.
Esperanza lives with her family in the house on Mango Street in a Mexican American Chicago suburb. Like any little girl, her perceptions of the world around her are based upon what she hears and sees from others. This house is the current stop in one of many places the family has lived and if her parents win the lottery with their tickets, a bigger better house in a nicer neighborhood will follow.
This little girl really wants another house, but there is much more to her longing than the house itself. For in her observations of learning and growing in this the neighborhood which surrounds the house, one sad story leads to another.
There are the girls around her, Marin, Alicia, Rafaela, and Sally all bound together by a single strand of hopelessness. Marin, the glamorous teenager dances in the street at night, the only time she is able to get away from babysitting. She only wants to live far away. Alicia is terrified of things she imagines she sees because her mother has died. Rafaela is locked in her house by her husband, her only comfort-papaya coconut juice. Sally’s father abuses her and when she runs off to get married, her husband is a man just like her father. Esperanza tells the stories of these girls poetically and in the way she imagines the girls wish their lives could be.One day her mother tells Esperanza that she could have really been somebody had she not quit school due to shame. She has never left the city.
Esperanza experiences many firsts in her life which bind her to the house on Mango Street and the community forever. Growing hips, what should she do with them? First kiss how awkward Sally should want to do this. First job in a photograph shop. The first death in the family, her grandpa. The first time in a child’s life when they realize that they are mortal and so are their family members. Along with this knowledge come so many emotions, anxieties, and fears. Thoughts about life and the future spill over into very adult conceptions of responsibility, love, and spirituality.
Some people always know they don’t belong where they are. They have love for their family and appreciation for what they have been given. But they cannot stay. Even as a child, the house on Mango Street represented girls struggling and poverty for Esperanza. She always dreamed of her own house with books and poetry and so much more. The memories of that old house and community will always be a part of her, but unlike many of the others, she was able to free herself.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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About the author: http://www.sandracisneros.com/