Why is it that, whenever something, whether it's a novel or a film or even a CD that's marked as "important/influential Hispanic material", that it ends up being completely boring, stilted, and lifeless, to boot?
Before anyone gets the bright idea of calling me out for seemingly "disparaging the Hispanic art/literature community"; I'm a Hispanic writer, myself, so let's get that out of the way.
The real issue at hand, here, is the problem that comes with any literature that is seemingly marketed towards a specific gender or ethnic community: Anything marketed like this, and celebrated and forced down the throats of school children at schools all across the country, become somewhat immune to criticism.
This book is an example of that kind of forced immunity.
Not to say that this book is badly written or even the most disingenuous novel about the Hispanic community. That's not the issue. The issue is that, this celebrated book is boring, and recycles the same old ideas from decades ago. You could even call them cliches, to boot.
When you leave you must remember to come back for the others. A circle, understand? You will always be Esperanza. You will always be Mango Street. You can't erase what you know. You can't forget who you are...Then I didn't know what to say. It was as if she could read my mind, as if she knew what I had wished for, and I felt ashamed for having made such a selfish wish.
It's not the worst message in the world. I guess that the old message of "you can never escape your roots" still holds water to this very day. It's just unremarkable, and plain. The characters are cookie-cutter, since most of the chapters take place via the main character(Esperanza) and her internal infernal damn monologue of shame, naivete, religious/family guilt, and so on.
Maybe I'm just the odd Hispanic, but there were no passages of blinding lyrical beauty; no Jorge Luis Borges or Miguel Cervantes or Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Jose Marti or anyone who left a lasting mark on literature. This book is boring, the ideas are the same wishy-washy indecisive half-measures as seen before, and the same old stock characters, like the wise old grandma and the tired mother and what not.
It's just a shame, to see this one book get so much recognition, when so many others, like Borges and Cervantes, still lie underneath some people's radars, surprisingly.