Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Arthur A. Levine Books, New York, 2009
A New York Times Notable Children’s Book 2009.
Borrowed from the library.
This book is being marketed as a young adult novel. I think everyone who loves a good story would enjoy it.
Marcelo is seventeen and hears music in his head. He has a condition like Asperger’s, somewhere on the Autism spectrum. His father has never really believed in the music or in Marcelo’s differences and thinks he needs to join the “real world”. The world of law firms and cut-throat competition.
Marcelo finds entering this world difficult and scary but he is strong, brave and willing to struggle to reach a goal. Along the way he discovers greed, dishonesty and the need to make hard choices. He also discovers love.
…..I feel I need to explain to Jasmine what I felt for the girl, but how can I when I don’t know myself? “It was like a question. Like a question that had to be answered.”
“There are no words for it.”
“But if you could put it into words, what would the question ask?”
Is there a way to articulate what I feel? It seems like a long time passes before I speak. “I guess it would be something like, “How do we go about living when there is so much suffering?” Does the question make sense? Is it the type of question that is ever asked?” From pages 165/166.
Stork has spent time with young people who have different ways of thinking and feeling and it shows in his writing. Marcelo’s voice is distinct and direct, beautiful in its clarity. He meets different kinds of people, those who understand and admire his differences and those who try and take advantage.
A true coming of age novel Marcelo in the Real world is a joy to read, with a protagonist I will not forget.
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