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The House on Mango Street

Written by: Sandra Cisneros
Narrated by: Sandra Cisneros
Length: 2 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Told in a series of vignettes stunning for their eloquence, The House on Mango Street is Sandra Cisneros's greatly admired novel of a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Acclaimed by critics, beloved by children, their parents and grandparents, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, it has entered the canon of coming-of-age classics.

Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous, The House on Mango Street tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong, not to her rundown neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Esperanza's story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become.

©1984 Sandra Cisneros (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the critics say

"Cisneros draws on her rich [Latino] heritage...and seduces with precise, spare prose, creat[ing] unforgettable characters we want to lift off the page. She is not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very different type of story

The childish voice, although fitting to the story, did strike the "annoying" nerve once in a while.

Overall, a very good perspective into this demographic .

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mkrhoades
  • 2005-09-09

it's excellent, but may be best in paper

I taught this book while at Wabash College. The white students from Indiana (with little background in diversity) had a good deal of trouble understanding it, and I did a lot of explaining. However, I found it interesting that an Indian-American student (as in eastern Asia) understood perfectly the tensions and problems of living in two cultures that the author presents.

My grandmother is from Sonora Mexico. I grew up in Phoenix. I'd long heard about this book while in the Southwest. The author nails many of the things one understands and grows up with, yet somehow is never part of, or drifts away from. If you've ever felt yourself in two worlds, you will enjoy this book. If you have Latin heritage, you must read this book! And, this may be a case where reading the paper version is better than the audio version. When I read it on paper, I imagined all of those local dialects and sounds in my past, some of them as my aunts' voices. I believe my experience reading the paper version the book was richer because the sounds in my memory were entangled in the reading experience. The end was very moving.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Loves Books
  • 2012-06-04

mango st / english reading

I used this novel in my ESL class this year. I did several types of reading lessons with it, and for the last half of the book, students followed along to the audio book. It went really well. The book is pretty good - it's about a Mexican girl growing up in America and her hopes for her future. It isn't a traditional story telling. This book is made up of shorter stories in order - all shape Esperanza's life though.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • EmilyK
  • 2016-01-24

Modern classic; worked well as an audio

Both of my sons have read this for their 8th grade English class, and enjoyed listening to the audio. I had read this book when it first came out but listened to it for the first time now with my younger son. He and I both felt that we got more out of the audio, especially with words and accents that might have been unfamiliar, since this is not our cultural background.

The book is structured as a series of vignettes. As a result, it works well in the audio format and you don't have to listen for a long time at a sitting.

I do still have my perennial concern that I wish the audible chapters corresponded to the book chapters.

My only real complaint is that I don't think the author should have done her own narration. While she has a lovely reading voice, her attempt at a child voice sounded forced and grating. Perhaps she could have read the book but just used her normal voice. I would listen to her read a different book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Fred
  • 2010-04-08

Spare yourself

Dear God. The narration fits the book quite well, by which I mean Cisneros comes across as trying very hard to sound like a child and fails at making it seem natural. I'm unimpressed by this book as a book (and yes, I do "get it," I just think other authors have made the same points in less predictable, more nuanced, more compelling ways) but Cisneros' simpering little-girl voice grates on your ears and makes the 2 hours of this book feel like 20.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexis618
  • 2019-07-16

This is a book that I could read again and again

I discovered this book after hearing an interview with the author, Sandra Cisneros, on NPR. I was familiar with the book; I think my mom owned it, but I just never got around to reading it. So, one Sunday I downloaded it and I really loved it! So many interesting, encouraging, and sad stories all in one book. Made me think -- about my life, the lives of children, the lives of women of color, the world we live in and our future. I could read (listen to) it again and again.

Also loved that the author was the narrator. It was very impactful to hear her voice reading these words. She's a very interesting person. I plan to read more from her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-07-12

Not worth your time..

Ok story and performance but its not for me.
I was assigned this for summer homework among other things but this was my least favorite of it all.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Cardinal
  • 2019-05-24

Ruined by the Narration

I was rather disappointed by this book after hearing it was so good. It wasn't as good as some like-genre books, but my opinion really is tainted by the abhorrent narration. Someone tell the author to stick to writing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jessica
  • 2014-03-13

Lyrical and Poetic

Would you consider the audio edition of The House on Mango Street to be better than the print version?

Cisneros (2009) a poet and great writer has portrayed the story of a Chicana (Mexican-American) with dreams beyond the young girls own understanding. The author provided lyrical vignettes to represent each character's role in the young girls life. Cisneros (2009) novel portrays a Chicana character that is living the life of almost every Latino I know, in terms of community and financial support and more importantly ideology. The awareness that her character is able to convey through language in this novel sets her apart from her community of neighbors, family, and friends, and givers her the opportunity to rise above, and escape. Through writing the character finds herself questioning her identity, her culture, and gender norms, specific not only to her culture, but to the society as a whole, like her relatives and peers. This character then transforms into an adolescent with poetic fashion. Great read, and even better performance on audible by the author herself.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The House on Mango Street?

(spoiler) The Cisneros (2009) novel the character does share about sexual abuse and in this regard, has little memory around the incident in a chapter called “Red Clowns,” in which she shares her anger toward “Sally” for misguiding her ideas of what sex would be like.

Have you listened to any of Sandra Cisneros’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes once live, but only a reading at a book signing. She was wonderful in person, and this is why i originally bought the book to read. I was thrilled to see it on audible.

If you could take any character from The House on Mango Street out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Good question, Sally's character is intriguing, and I'd like to know more about her.

Any additional comments?

This is one you should listen to with your young adolescent, as it is thought provoking and the reader or listener may have a few questions. I think the author does a great job, however of describing life from a different perspective, one of oppression that is deep rooted, and difficult to escape.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Philippa
  • 2011-01-22

Terrible Narrator

I've read this book before and wanted to hear it to remind myself about it before the author comes to our town for a book reading. I won't be going to the book reading because I found her voice so annoying that I couldn't get through the audiobook. Whoever told her to read her books herself did her a great disservice, imho.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve Bendt
  • 2019-12-04

Good read

It is a little diffrent from other books like is has story's instead of chapters. And they all have different story's about her childhood. You should totally give it a chance.