Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo is 17 and getting ready to begin his senior year. Marcelo is different from others. He hears music during the everyday moments of his life, and he sees the world in a different way from some people. He is diagnosed as having Asperger's syndrome. He has attended a special school throughout his life and has worked in the stables at his school taking care of the horses during the summer.

Marcelo is very intelligent and his father thinks that it is time for Marcelo to stop working at his school and move out into the real world. He wants Marcelo to work in his law firm mail room for the summer so that Marcelo can see what the world is really like outside of his school. Marcelo's experience in the mailroom brings him into contact with a lovely young woman named Jasmine. Jasmine is a spunky young lady, and she shows Marcelo the ropes. During this summer at the law firm, we follow Marcelo at his job and experience the world as he experiences it. He is disturbed when he one day finds a picture of a girl whose face is destroyed on one side. He becomes determined to find out what happened to this girl and to help her if he can. His search will show him more of the real world that he even knows.

This book was GREAT. First, it's wonderful to read. I loved Marcelo's voice as a narrator. He was honest, and I knew he was reporting things to me in a truthful way. He worked out issues in his head and as the reader, you just got to follow along and see how he came to the conclusions that he came to. I felt like when I was reading Marcelo and seeing the world through his eyes, that I was seeing the world in a more pure way. He hasn't been tainted by hurt, and cruelty, and many of the sad things in the world, and I saw with fresh eyes when reading this book.

The characters in this book are all wonderfully written, too. I felt that they were all good people, even if the book showed a bad side of them. People in real life are complicated. You may trust someone and then they hurt you. It's hard to reconcile these feelings, but that's life. Life is full of contradictions, and Marcelo finds this out as he interacts with all the other characters in the book, good and bad.

I think this book is a must read for everyone, young adults and adults. It's a great story with a memorable character. We all can learn a lot from Marcelo.

Grade: A

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