Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

August 30, 2013

Book Review: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Author: Francisco X. Stork
Published March 1st 2009 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Age: Young Adult
Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and he's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience "the real world." There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm.
He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it's a picture he finds in a file -- a picture of a girl with half a face -- that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.
Reminiscent of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" in the intensity and purity of its voice, this extraordinary novel is a love story, a legal drama, and a celebration of the music each of us hears inside.
I wanted to read this book after reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'. I now understand why it won so many prizes, it's not easy to write Marcelo. After reading the first pages I wanted to protect him from the 'real world', especially from his lawyer father who expects him to be normal.

Marcelo has been on a special school all his life, where he can go at his own rhythm and do what he loves, working with horses. But his father thinks Marcelo would be better if he works at his office for the summer and prepare for the real world so he could go to a normal school next year.

Obviously Marcelo refuses, but after all his father is stronger than him and that's how Marcelo starts this journey where he will learn how to interact with people, understand what is right and wrong, and take charge of his life.

Marcelo has something like Asperger, but that didn't make it difficult to relate with him. I think most teenager live similar situations, after being protected by your family, you have to go to the 'real world' where there is a lot of bad people, some good, and doing the right thing is not easy.

Although it took me some time to finish it, I really liked Marcelo in the Real World. It's one of those books that leaves you thinking and with feeling, sometimes sad about how Marcelo was treated, other times just thinking....Marcelo is one of those guys who ask big questions. I feel like some things were left unresolved, but I still recommend it. It's not the typical young adult book.

More about this book at Goodreads, Amazon, The Book Depository.


  1. I had not heard about this book before, but it doe sound good :D

  2. Love characters that aren't the norm. I really liked Curious Incident as well, so I think I should check this out.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. Excellent review. I keep picking this one up at the library but then never get around to reading it. Maybe I'll have to change that soon. Marcelo sounds like a great character.