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hmm...I'm not entirely sure what you mean by what type of book, but it's a fiction book of short stories, that first appeared in 1983. There are 44 short stories that evoke the circumstances and conditions of a Hispanic American ghetto in Chicago. The narrative is seen through the eyes of Esperanza Cordero, an adolescent girl coming of age.
Although the above answer is mostly correct, it would be more appropriate to say that the book is made up of vignettes (pronounced vin-yets, the g is silent).
Vignettes are different from short stories in that the they are not complete, do not have a clear begining, middle, and end, fully developed characters, a plot, etc... They are better viewed as snapshots, or word pictures, that capture a particular subject, person, or memory. Esperanza gives us a big picture of her life by providing these smaller snapshots. They together form a cohesive whole.
Well, if you want to know the genre, i speculate that this book is a coming-of-age type. Over the lapse of year(almost), Esperanza narrates vignettes (as mentioned in cnorth answer) of that period of time.
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