House On Mango Street

In English spoken as Spanish, Sandra Cineros tells us all about her life at Mango street, in this short and excellent novella.

Through her tiny tales about Mango streets Cineros talks about nothing in particular, but still manages to effortlessly say so much. Every chapter takes, at most, 5 minutes to finish. Everything from the names for snow, clouds, race, sex, adolescence and culture gushes out from the writing. When you finish the book, you’ll know this living breathing street full of Latin American immigrants. You’ll probably know the juiciest gossip in and around Mango street too.

I’ve read the book twice in 3 hours. The re-reading value is ludicrous. Every entry is so varied, diverse and filled with this exotic reality that keeps you hooked. The tiny length of the stories makes it extremely easy to pick up and read casually.

Latin American culture and the Spanish Language are major sources of influence but it isn’t limited to that. Stories can feature Spanish phrases rolling of tongues and little girls hurling abuses at each other. Cieros makes no attempt to rant about serious issues, discuss the treatment of Latin Americans in America, talk about the usual jazz about life in poverty.

Cieros grapples with her sense of belonging and her futile longing to escape, to not belong, all while narrating terribly tiny tales that fascinate, engross and ooze beauty.

When I Hated Tomatos

I can’t think of any dish I hated as a kid and came to like later. However I do remember I never liked tomatoes as a kid and I can’t get enough of them these days.

I don’t mean to say I like putting tomatoes on everything [well I do] what I mean is I like eating tomatoes by themselves. Tomatoes I have discovered taste really good even when they aren’t cut up and put on stuff. Just take a bite out of one and you’ll see. I once ate seven tomatoes in fourteen bites.

I still have friends who pick out tomatoes from what they’re eating. Lonely bread crusts and tomatoes are a common sight on used plates. It’s a tragedy really. Did you know there a thousands of tomato species that are going to go extinct because people don’t care about the sort of tomatoes they eat?

The first time I realized tomatoes taste amazing is when there were a bunch of stray tomatoes were in the fridge. They were tiny, a little bigger than a finger nail, I had no idea what they were so I ate it. I don’t know why but ever since I’ve fallen in love with tomatoes. I stopped putting them away, I actually looked forward to eating them. Sometimes I just ate tomatoes when I was too lazy to cook. Maybe they were magic tomatoes.

I don’t understand how those juicy little orbs ever managed to repel me. I remember how I used to cringe every time I came across them and put them away. Burgers, Pizzas etc were all ripped to shreds with knives and fingers in my attempts to get rid of them. Tomatoes never seemed to go with anything.

There’s a lot you can do with tomatoes that doesn’t need a lot of work. Just heat them up a little ,after you cut them in two, and they taste amazing. I wasn’t long ago when I discovered the wonders of tomatoes I can still recollect the cringes that tomatoes used to brings. I don’t know how to describe it. all I can do is head to the fridge and eat a couple more of them.