I'm a sci-fi writer and reader, although, let's be honest - I'll read just about anything that moves me, regardless of the genre.
The House on Mango Street is a collection of short, poetry like stories, that together give an overall picture of an adolescent, inner city girl's life. I realize that 'poetry like stories' may not make a lot of sense to you, so I'll do my best to explain.
Cineros is a poet, so to me it makes sense to me that she would write a novel like this one. The book is divided into really short sections. The sections are usually not more than a few pages, and they aren't your typical linear plot. They are instead snippets and details of a girl's - Esperanza's - life. They are lyrical bursts of writing that, to me, are pretty much poetry with a point. I think one of the things that people get upset about in this book is that it isn't a traditional narrative. If that's something you, as a reader, need you probably won't enjoy The House on Mango Street. I personally felt like Cineros did a great job at telling a story through details. I walked away from the book (only a few hours after I started it) with a vibrant picture of Esperanza's life. I thought it was great, and it is short. So, if you're considering if you want to take the time to read this book, I say do it because you can literally read it in a matter of hours (at most). It's very different from most novels, it isn't a huge time investment and it'll make you think when you're done no matter if you liked it or not, and isn't that why you read?
*Also, don't get discouraged when I say poetry. It is straight forward and easy to understand. You're not reading Beowulf here.