Saturday, March 5, 2011
Marcelo in the Real World; Francisco X. Stork
Title: Marcelo in the Real World
Author: Francisco X Stork
Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Arthur A Levine Books
Edition: eBook / Kindle
Date Completed: 3/5/2011
Setting: Massachusetts and Vermont
Rating: 4/5 stars
Marcelo Sandoval, a high functioning, 17-year-old with Aspergers. Marcelo can hear music in his head, that others do not hear. He's obsessed with religion, so much so that even though his family is Catholic, he meets with a Rabbi friend of his mothers on a regular basis to discuss the Torah and other aspects of religion. Marcelo also has difficulty interacting with others. He attends Patterson, a special school, where he takes pleasure in helping to care for the ponies. Life in Marcelo's world is happy and built on routine.
As summer approaches, Marcelo's father, a prestigious attorney who he calls Arturo, insists that he work in the mail room of his law firm for the summer to see what the "real world" is like. If he is successful, his father tells him that he can make his own decision as to whether her returns to school at Paterson in the fall of whether he goes to high school with other kids.
At the law firm Marcelo meets Jasmine, who tells him what needs to be done. Jasmine seems to be the first outsider who seems to understand him, and knows what he is thinking. She is kind, compassionate and patient with Marcelo, and truly seems to have a gift of working those who need a little more attention. While working Marcelo comes across a photo of a disfigured girl who was injured as the result of the negligence of one of his father’s biggest clients. Marcelo becomes obsessed with this case and is determined to learn more about the case and the girl, and bit by bit the pieces of the case are revealed. Marcelo learns to follow his heart and mind, and to do what feels right, even when others at the law firm try to take advantage of him.
Marcelo in the Real World, is a realistic story of what some aspects of life, must be like for someone with Aspergers. The author has created a truly believable character in Marcelo. His summer in the "real world", told from his point of view, becomes one that truly transforms him. Although it was painful at times to see him outside of this safety zone, and to be forced to deal with uncomfortable social interactions, it was also wonderful to see him make progress from his previously sheltered existence as well. Marcelo's compassion, and instinct shows through again and again.