Marcelo in the Real World

Friday, July 8, 2011

Marcelo in the Real World

by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo Sandoval is a 17-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome. His father, Arturo, is the partner in a law firm and wants his son to spend the summer working there in the “real world.” What Marcelo discovers in this sweet novel, is that no one is perfect. He sees the world in black and white, while most people see a million shades of gray.

Throughout the summer, Marcelo gets to know his beautiful, but caustic, coworker Jasmine. He also interacts with Wendell, the son of one of the other partners at the law firm. Wendell is one of those rich boys who think they can do anything because they are a CEO’s son or a famous politician’s nephew. Bigger men have always gotten them out of trouble in the past and they've never really had to pay for any of their crimes. I hate those guys… a lot.

I loved Marcelo’s voice. He is so sincere and trusting, but when something feels off or wrong, he knows it immediately, even if he can’t explain why. Marcelo’s innocence makes you want to protect him from weasels like Wendell.

The book is part Flowers for Algernon and part Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. I feel like if you’ve read and liked either of those (which I did) you’ll like this one. Don’t get me wrong, this book is not just repeating those plots, it just shares some themes and styles.

I felt like we really didn’t need to have Marcelo meet the girl who was injured in the car wreck. It took me out of the story a bit and didn’t feel real to me.


“All I can think of now is that it is not right for me to be unaware of that pain, including the pain that I inflict on others. Only how is it possible to live without being either numbed to it or overwhelmed by it.”

For another review, visit Becky’s Book Reviews here.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I enjoyed the audio version of this book, but you are write about the intro of that girl --it did not seem realistic.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Diane - The rest of it was great, but that part just didn't work for me.

Jeanne said...

I agree about the girl, too. It was like a section from another book. But it wasn't enough to spoil the book for me; I enjoyed it all the way through (

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Great review! I agree, it definitely didn't ruin the book for me, it was just an odd bit.

Jenners said...

I keep hearing such good things about this book. I must read it. Excellent review.