Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Marcello in the Real World by Francisco X Stork

I started reading Marcelo in the Real World to find out what all the hype was. What a refreshing change from the science fiction/fantasy that I love to read.

Seventeen year old Marcelo Sandolva has what he can only describe as a mild form of Asperger’s, an autism-like condition where his thinking and communication skills are literal making his social-interaction awkward.

He has been attending a special high school where they teach him to communicate and socially interact and where he can work with the miniature horses which he loves. He has a summer job there, working with the horses. The problem is, Marcelo’s father doesn’t think that he is getting real world experience and makes a bargain that if he works at his father’s law firm and follows the rules for the summer, he will be allowed to go back to the school he loves. Otherwise, he must attend public school.
During the summer, Macelo definitely does begin to learn about the real world. He begins to communicate on a social level with Jasmine, who he has been assigned to work with in the mail room, as well as with as some cut throat people at the firm. Real life starts immediately to infiltrate Marcelo's formerly innocent life. He finds his niche in behavior causing him to feel more normal and learns that the most important thing for him is to stay true to himself, not conforming the way his father wishes him to, but also not remaining inside the box as he expected himself to. He is faced with many moral decisions which make for a compelling drama.

Stork develops each of his characters with a skill that makes you feel like they are here with you—Wendell—the spoiled, immoral Harvard educated son of one of the partners of the law firm, Jasmine’s caring personality, Marcelo’s mom’s gentleness and caring all come together to keep you turning each page.

It is a must read for everyone, instilling compassion and understanding for anyone perceived as different in society.

Rating: 9

Reading Next: The Ask and Answer Book by Patrick Ness

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