“She thinks stories are about beauty. Beauty that is there to be admired by anyone, like a herd of clouds grazing overhead. She thinks people who are busy working for a living deserve beautiful little stories, because they don’t have much and are often tired. She has in mind a book that can be opened at any page and will still make sense to the reader who doesn’t know what came before or comes after.”
Reading the foreword of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros herself is as enjoyable as the actual collection of vignettes from the point-of-view of character, Esperanza and deal with topics about family, growing up, identity, love, friends, dancing, music and much more. Much of the said foreword echoes my own continuing experiences as a writer, such as this gem of an observation on writer´s block – “I feel worse when I don’t write. Does one ever feel completely happy?”
That said, there is indeed something for everyone in this book like the writer intended, and there is always the possibility of my own current favourites changing in due course over further readings, but the ones that have stayed with me after the first read are “The House on Mango Street”, “Hair”, “My Name”, “Laughter”, “Darius and the Clouds”, “Four Skinny Trees” and “A House of my Own” with lines like “You can never have too much sky”, “The moment you forget everything but that moment and what you were doing then”, “You must remember to come back (for those) who cannot leave as easily as you”, “A house as quiet as snow, a space for myself to go, clean as paper before the poem.”
This is a wonderful collection full of a range of emotions, vivid characters and images and words that will stay with you even after you have closed the book. Exactly the kind of inspiring narrative about identity and belonging or the lack thereof, that I didnt realise I was even looking for. This was my first experience with Sandra Cisneros, but I will definitely be coming back for more.