'Narcos' producer to adapt Sandra Cisneros' 'The House on Mango Street' for TV

"Now is the time to tell our stories," the author said in an interview.
"The House on Mango Street," by Sandra Cisneros.
"The House on Mango Street," by Sandra Cisneros.Arte Publico Press

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By Gwen Aviles

Sandra Cisneros' classic novel "The House on Mango Street" will be adapted into a television show by Gaumont, the film company behind "Narcos."

“'The House on Mango Street' is a timeless story that captures the struggles, dreams and spirit of a young woman who epitomizes the experience of many young women coming of age in America today," Gene Stein, Gaumont’s president of U.S. television, told Deadline, which first reported the news.

"It’s an inspiring and uplifting story that speaks to the challenges faced by so many trying to find their place in society," he said.

Published in 1984, "The House on Mango Street" is the acclaimed Mexican American author's first novel and is considered a modern classic in Chicano literature. The novel, which follows Esperanza Cordero, a 12-year-old girl growing up in a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Chicago, unfolds through a series of vignettes.

While "The House on Mango Street" is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the American Book Award, and has sold more than 6 million copies since its publication, it also has been controversial. The novel has been banned from several school curriculums and was listed on Banned Book Week's list of frequently challenged young adult fiction for 2014-2015 because of its depictions of domestic and sexual violence.

According to Gaumont, Cisneros had previously declined offers to adapt the novel for television or film. Should the series be commissioned, Cisneros will serve as executive producer of the project.

“I write because the world we live in is a house on fire, and the people we love are burning,” Cisneros told Deadline. “Television has grown up in the last 20 years and now is the time to tell our stories.”

News of "The House on Mango Street" adaptation follows controversy over "American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins, a novel released Tuesday about a Mexican mother who flees her home for the United States with her son. Cummins' novel will be adapted into a film and was recently selected as an Oprah Book Club pick, but Mexican American writers have largely criticized the book as stereotypical and racist and an example of the struggles of authors of color in the publishing industry.

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