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Banned Book Review: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Title: The House on Mango Street

Author: Sandra Cisneros

Year Published: 1984

Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 110
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map)USA (IL)

Summary (from Amazon): Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero.

Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

Review: I read this book years ago and enjoyed it and decided to re-read it for Banned Book Week. I am also counting it toward this month's Diversity Reading Challenge's mini-challenge: books by and/or about Hispanic/Latinx authors (September 15 to October 15 is officially Hispanic Heritage Month).

Sandra Cisneros published this book in 1983, the year I graduated from high school. It has been challenged and/or banned due to themes of racism, sexuality, and poverty. Poverty. Someone out there actually wanted to ban a book because it talks about poverty.
I like the way Cisneros writes, capturing a myriad of voices and experiences. She pulls the reader in through her use of language (a mixture of English and Spanish), with every day life as well as the trauma experienced by her characters.

As the description says, the book is made up of short vignettes that are both difficult to read and others that put a smile on my face. I love that she brings the reader into her world as she writes about what makes a home, hair, her name and its meaning. The stories that are difficult to read show up in chapters such as What Sally Said, about physical abuse and the lies we tell to cover up the shame, and Red Clowns, which is about sexual assault. 

Have you read House on Mango Street? If not, I highly recommend it.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Diversity--Latinx author and characters (September challenge)

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