28 July 2009

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

While not for every reader, Marcelo's story is one that transcends boundaries: geography, race, mental and physical ability, gender, and age all become meaningless as his character relates to each and every individual.

Marcelo is a high-functioning seventeen-year-old on the autistic spectrum. When asked, he tells people, "From a medical perspective, the closest description of my condition is Asperger's syndrome." But he doesn't have all of the characteristics usually associated with Asperger's syndrome and autism; he functions very well in most situations, but he lacks the ability to interpret many of the social cues that the rest of the world absorbs mindlessly. In an effort to help Marcelo become more self-sufficient and capable, his father, Arturo, insists that he take a job in the mail room of the offices where he works as a lawyer. It is in this very "real world" situation that Marcelo begins to learn more about others, himself, and the way the world around him truly functions. Not all choices are black and white, not all decisions are right or wrong, but Marcelo must figure out how to live life the best way he can, which sometimes means working hard, making mistakes, and learning to trust.

Recommended to all readers!
Call number: YA STORK (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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