May 5, 2010

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Summary: Marcelo is afflicted with an autism-like condition. He has been going to a special school named Paterson where he works with horses and helps other children with mental "disorders". His father, Arturo, gives him the option to work at the law firm during the summer and if he succeeds, he stays at Paterson, if he fails, he goes to a public school. Marcelo meets Jasmine, the other mailroom worker, and with her help he discovers what it means to truly be in the real world and to feel compassion for others.

Likes: I loved this book. I actually hugged it when I was done. All of the characters were pretty much well-rounded and I loved Marcelo's character. The narrative was soft and gentle with a very contemplative nature, I loved being in Marcelo's head without going crazy. I enjoyed reading about Marcelo's journey into the real world and the difficulties he had to overcome in a world where people assume other's are dumb or stupid. It was interesting to read Marcelo's view on the world as he was sometimes one of the smartest people in the entire law firm. Marcelo's interest is religion which I think is really interesting, especially when he talks to his rabbi about good and evil. I believe that was one of my favorite parts of the book and also when Marcelo stands up to his father and does what's right and realizes that he can do even more than he originally thought he would do.

Dislikes: There wasn't much that I disliked about the novel. Although Wendell and his camp are assholes, it's unfortunate that people like him exist in the real world and take advantage of people who don't understand the way the world works.

Overall: I loved this book even more given my experiences with kids that have autism. It seems like people are so quick to write people off who have mental conditions and I've found that most of the kids I work with are a lot smarter than others give them credit for.

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