The reviews are in. The contest is complete. Congratulation to David Grimes for his winning submission (see below).
The House on Mango Street
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
New York (1984)
5th Printing (1997)
November 1, 2018
Cisneros gives virtual tour of inner city hope with 'House'
Novelist Sandra Cisneros knows what it feels like to be on the outside looking in.
In her piece 'The House on Mango Street', she endeavors--and succeeds in an admirable manner--to take the reader on a personal tour of her growing up years in Chicago's inner city so that she can share the feeling that that experience brings with it. Each chapter/vignette gives snapshot glimpses of what alternating feelings of being shunned and included are like and how they are a universal part of the human experience. They argue convincingly how each of us truly do possess more value as part of the whole than how any one individual does alone.
It is always an adventure worth embarking on to take a glimpse through a lens different than our own to observe how the world orbits in a universe that includes so many different life experiences.
Cisneros' collection of prose--that reads more like poetry--offers the reader opportunities to crawl inside the skin of others not only from the perspective of different stations in life, but from a range of ages and seasons in life.
One vignette introduces the reader to a neighbor whose wife and young son come from Mexico to visit the husband/father only to discover the man has a mistress who has seduced him into a life of infidelity.
In 'No Speak English' the mistress, it is revealed, is not a flesh and blood adversary, but is the man's addiction to speaking the language of his new homeland. The woman's heart breaks at story's end when the child begins to sing a soft drink commercial he has learned during the visit to his father.
Cisneros' talent as a novelist enables the reader to hear colors, visualize sounds and feel the taste of loneliness.
A tour through the neighborhood where 'The House on Mango Street' is found is worth the experience of a personal tour for everyone who has a zeal for life in its fullness. This is my second reading of the work.
I'll be back for a third.