The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Only a house quiet as snow, a space for myself to go, clean as paper before the poem.
The House on Mango Street is written as a compilation of vignettes, a style of writing that's easy to maneuver. I was impressed to read a story loaded in such detail but told in so few words. Each chapter is a single moment or thought in time. A book of fragmented stories that continue unfolding in your mind long after the chapters end.
The consistent theme throughout the book was Esperaza's desire to get out of her impoverished neighborhood. She dreamed of independence with a house of her own. Esperaza wanted more than the life she'd grown to know. Coming from small town America myself, I felt a kinship with her. By no means did I live in a ghetto but I grew up in a family that didn't have much money and in a community too small to support very many opportunities. In that scenario you get two choices. Be comfortable with where you are or push to develop your potential of being more than you thought you could.
Esperaza opted for the bigger picture and the heartwarming part is the selflessness attached to her pursuit. She vowed to escape poverty then return for her family. So much sweeter the fruits of labor when you share it with the ones you love.
Though you leave the story with no account of how Esperaza's life continues, you feel confident that if you met up with her today, she'd be living the life of her dreams.