This July Pages Unbound is celebrating classic literature with a collection of guest posts. We asked other readers to tell us what one of their favorite classic is and why we should read it.
Lila runs The Bookkeeper’s Secrets! She’s a twenty-something college kid studying physics and an avid reader. Her loves include reading, graphic design, blogging, and singing. Oh! And hedgehogs! She *loves* hedgehogs!
It started out as a regular old school assignment. Read the book, write the papers, make the grade, you know the drill. I didn’t think anything would change. I didn’t think I would change. But that’s the power of literature. It changes you when you’re least expecting it. One moment you’re leading a cheerful, yet fairly oblivious life, the next moment your perspective is expanded to a whole new range.
That’s me and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I thought it was going to be just another school assignment. It was so much more.
The House on Mango Street tells the story of Esperanza, a young Hispanic girl growing up in poverty. She tells the story of her life and of how she longs for a true home (not house, home) to call her own in short, bluesy vignette style.
Reading that book, it was the first time I’d ever felt known by a stranger, felt completely and utterly understood. And I think it was the first concrete time I understood how literature could truly touch your life. The way Cisneros wrote about poverty and the desire to have a true place to call home spoke to me so deeply.
It was also the first time I discovered a writing style which I fell in love with. I love not only Cisnero’s use of vignettes, but her jazzy, smoky, bluesy way of writing about life. It just fit the emotions I wanted to express so well. We had an assignment during that unit to write 5 vignettes and I took inspiration from Cisneros’s style, writing my own version of the blues.
The House on Mango Street helped me grow as a writer, a reader, and a person. For that, it will always have a special place in my heart making it so much more than a simple school assignment.