Ding Huang Huang itibaren Csongrád, Macaristan
The universe has drawn me to two "older" novels in a row--the last (Anne Lamott's All New People) published in 1989, and now The House on Mango Street in 1984. Both, it turns out, are stories of young girls coming of age, while observing the people around them. One is white, one is Latina. One lives in California's Bay Area, the other in an ethnic Chicago neighborhood. Both girls are not quite comfortable in their own skin, let alone in their families and neighborhoods. Both are repeatedly let down by friends and circumstances yet, somehow, they don't lose their spirit. My kids read this book in High School English and another friend recently reminded me of it. (Thanks to Jay. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it.) Cisnero's Esperanza is a tenderhearted heroine who wants more, who deserves more, than the life she's living in a poor Chicago neighborhood where she observes a variety of quirky, often shady and just plain dangerous characters. The author's language is so beautiful that I re-read some chapters (they are short) just to make sure I didn't miss anything. Although different in style, The House on Mango Street belongs in the company of novels like Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Carson McCullers' Member of the Wedding. The difference is that Cisneros' Mango Street is so incredibly lyrical in its prose, which borders much of the time on poetry. Esperanza lives up to her name, which means "hope"... and we hope she gets the future she deserves.