July 12, 2010

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo loves taking care of the ponies at Paterson, a school for high functioning autistic youth. His father, a high powered attorney, wants Marcelo to spend his senior year mainstreamed in a public school because he must experience the "real world." At odds, Marcelo and his father compromise by agreeing to Marcelo spending the summer working in his father's law offices, and from that experience will decide which school he will attend. Marcelo enters a world he fears and doesn't understand. At the office he teams up with Jasmine who takes him under her wing, helping him sort out the competition, jealousy, and indifference that is typical of the business world. When completing a task, Marcelo discovers a picture of a girl whose face is grossly disfigured. His search for the truth behind the picture is life changing. The story is convincingly written in the voice of Marcelo, with deep characterizations and a plot that unfolds beautifully. I loved this book, and while perhaps better suited for high school, it is an important story told with heart and compassion. The book is for more mature readers because of language and light sexual inferences. An excellent companion to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime by Mark Haddon.
Reed Reads Score: 5

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