Monday, April 21, 2008

The House on Mango Street

My daughter is reading Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street for her Women's Lit class. This was one of the books on the syllabus that I hadn't read. I really enjoyed it. It's quite short. Made up of little vignettes. It's the story of 12 year old Esperanza coming of age in a Latino neighborhood in Chicago. This book won The American Book Award in 1985.

The vignettes contain numerous finely detailed characters. The prose is quite beautiful, even poetic. At one point Esperanza describes her mother's voice, singing along with a record of Madame Butterfly that she has checked out of the library, her lungs velvety and strong like morning glories.

Esperanza checks many books out of the library and reads quite a lot of children's lit classics, including The Water Babies, Rip Van Winkle and "The Carpenter and the Walrus" from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This is the second time in the last few months that Rip Van Winkle has come up. I really should get around to reading that...

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