‘House on Mango Street’ author Sandra Cisneros traces her life through places she's lived

The renown author of "The House on Mango Street" opens up about how every woman needs "a spiritual house of their own."


Houses have always meant something more to Sandra Cisneros than just four walls and a ceiling.

A Chicana who grew up as one of seven children in Chicago, Sandra Cisneros has become one of the most influential writers in American literature as well as an idol and trailblazer for U.S. Latinas, and in a new memoir, “A House of My Own: Stories from My Life,” she makes the case for one of the keys to her success – being able to live in her own house.

Donald Trump is a very frightened man. Anyone who is frightened has to bluster and yell and shout.

- Sandra Cisneros

“It’s very important for women to create a spiritual house of their own,” Cisneros told Fox News Latino recently, “so they can ask themselves, ‘What do I want to do with my life?’ As opposed to being told by a politician or the Church.”

Cisneros’ first novel, “The House on Mango Street” (1984) – a short, lyrical volume that follows Esperanza, a schoolgirl about to become a young woman living in a Latino section of Chicago – is now required reading in most schools around the country.

When asked if she found it difficult to accept that “Mango Street” is viewed as the definitive Latino coming-of-age novel, Cisneros said, “For me, it’s an American book. By ‘American’ I mean the Americas, from the top of Canada all the way to Patagonia.”

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Cisneros, who in recent years moved from her longtime home in San Antonio to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, has also authored the critically-acclaimed novel “Caramelo” (2002), collections of short stories, poetry books, children’s literature and now her memoir, which is composed of a series of essays that she wrote for different newspapers and other publications over the years.

“I hope that this new book is written from a place of love,” the writer said, “because we’re living in such hostile times toward people who look like me and you.”

In fact, the tenor of the times and the national discourse on immigration was part of her decision to move to Mexico.

“The fatherland … isn’t treating us very well these days,” Cisneros said, speaking about the reception many immigrants get in the U.S.

Asked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who vaulted to the front of the pack by taking an extreme hard line on immigration, Cisneros said, “Donald Trump is a very frightened man. Anyone who is frightened has to bluster and yell and shout.”

After moving south of the border, she said she has felt more secure.

“There are dangerous parts of Mexico, I must say,” she told FNL, “but I feel safer. The people there at least know that their government is ineffectual. They know that the media is telling them lies. People here are still inocentes.”

Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.

Bill Vourvoulias (@bvourvoulias) is an editor at Fox News Latino.

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