Lindsey's Reviews > Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
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Mar 28, 10

bookshelves: award-winners

Summary: Marcelo is a young adult with Asperger’s syndrome who is being challenged by his father to leave the comfortable and controlled life that he has made for himself to challenge himself and work in the “real world.” Through working at his father’s office, Marcelo has to learn to deal socially with uncensored adults in an unsheltered setting. He has some struggles, such as trying to complete work tasks quickly, but up to his own standards. Marcelo learns an enormous amount about himself, other people, and the “real world,” that summer. He realizes his father’s business practices are not always for the best of mankind, he deals with a manipulative co-worker, and goes through an ordeal that is confusing to most young people (maybe even just most people), and especially one who has troubles expressing emotions, Marcelo falls in love. Even for all of these challenges, Marcelo prevails.

Reflection: This was by far my favorite book I read for this class. I have worked with students at different points on the Autism spectrum, and read other books, both fiction and non-fiction, about this disorder. With the knowledge that I have, this book seemed very realistic as far as how one person with Asperger’s might try to express the events of a summer. There were so many great themes, including coming-of-age themes, good vs. evil, religious ponderings, etc. The fact that the main character had Asperger’s was absolutely a part of the story, but I enjoyed that the story could fully stand on its own without that as well. The fact that the story is about a teen with a disability, but is identifiable to other students, and is interesting in and of itself makes it the best kind of story about disabilities, and I believe that it why it won the Schnieder Family Book award. The award criteria call for a book that portray a main character with a disability, in a realistic way, and not in a way that you feel the need to pity the character, or that they have a huge obstacle to overcome. Those criteria were absolutely addressed here. This would be a great book for mature middle school students and high school students to read.
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