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Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo in the Real World

Book - 2009 | 1st ed
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Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.
Publisher: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780545054744
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 312 p. ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Marcelo is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. He starts working at his father's law firm and soon faces new challenges such as romance and injustice.

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Aug 26, 2020

Marcelo in the Real World is a realistic fiction book about a teenage boy diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome finding the door to the real world and leaving his confined isolation behind. Marcelo was a solitary figure in society who lived in his imagination, dreaming about attending a school working with horses. To his fantasy’s demise, his father forced Marcelo to enroll in a public school to face the real environment and live out his dreams. This was his father’s plan for Marcelo to carry on with education and in the latter, take his position in a law firm. As the teenage boy was interning in the business, he noticed a disturbing portrait of a girl, who has been unjustly denied help from the lawyers. Even from the holes between Marcelo’s knowledge of how the world functions and his thoughts, he ultimately knew that he had to resolve this issue for the girl to face justice. In the end, Marcelo developed as an individual and created a sense of belonging to society, no longer being a stranger at his home.

The original plot and character development made me realize that this book was not just a mere story, but a literary masterpiece. I loved seeing how Marcelo overcame his conflicts with the determination of knowing that he had to do what was right, which probably inspired other students to do the same. I would rate this book five stars and recommend it to readers of any age.

Apr 06, 2020

Loved this book. It had a very interesting protagonist and a great plot with definite suspense. I highly recommend...

multcolib_susannel Dec 31, 2019

17 year old Marcelo's unique way of looking at the world causes him to ask some tough questions when he is hired to work in the mail room of his father's law firm.

MindyShepherd Oct 22, 2014

This is my second reading of Marcelo in the Real World. What elevates it as a work of literary fiction are the various strands of moral tension, the beauty of the writing, the thought-provoking insights, and the inexorable growth of main character, Marcelo, a teenager at the high end of the autistic spectrum. Author Stork was fortunate to work with C. Klein, whose steady editorial hand can be seen in the book's impeccable structure, pacing, and high emotional stakes. I recommend it highly.

Oct 17, 2013

Sweet and humorous a well as thought provoking. However, I thought it had a simplified ending that somewhat "missed" - a bit too Pollyanna for me.

Aug 02, 2013

This is an awesome book! I would read this book again and again!

Jun 26, 2012

The hype surrounding this title seemed like the ideal amount: mentioned a few times in literary publications, a starred review in Publishers Weekly, winner of a somewhat-obscure book award. (Huh. My idea of "ideal hype" doesn't involve any raving book blog reviews. It'd be interesting to examine that idea further.) But it looks like my expectations still ended up a wee bit too high.

Let's start with Marcelo. He's introduced to the reader in a variety of situations in which he's comfortable, allowing us time to get used to his unique viewpoint. There are pages solid with passages of his narration that are, not if exactly likeable, certainly thought-provoking. And perhaps in that Stork has accomplished the most impressive feat of capturing the true voice of a teen with Asperger's; an ordinary person wouldn't ever comprehend the way he or she thinks.

One strike against this book is the side characters. Oh, they're all intricately layered, but none are quite all the way on Marcelo's side. Therefore, the feeling that we're in over our heads never goes away, which makes the 300 pages a little uncomfortable. Rabbi Heschel is a spout of wit and wisdom; in contrast, Wendell is cruel pond scum and Arturo (Marcelo's father) isn't worthy of his son. Even Jasmine stays a bit too enigmatic for my taste.

(Goodness. At this rate, I'll probably end up nominating Namu as my favourite side character.)

The first fifteen or so chapters are paced on the slow side, with Stork laying down the groundwork through Marcelo's observations of his workplace. What the groundwork was for soon becomes apparent, and it's that particular mystery that rings true the most (and also picks up the pace). Instead of facing touchy issues like lust, competition and hate, injustice is at the heart of this plotline, making it much easier for the reader to side with Marcelo.

Okay, I'm just going to drop all remaining vestiges of professionalism here and say Marcelo in the Real World didn't ring a chord, though I felt like it had the potential to. It's definitely still worth a read, because I can see the good parts of it. It's just not for me, I guess.

Dec 17, 2011

Marcelo is quite likable and that makes this book a genial read! Insightful line: "For all the pain I saw at Paterson, it is nothing compared to the pain that people inflict upon each other in the real world"

CSchmidt1 Nov 21, 2011

An enjoyable and insightful work of fiction from the perspective of a young man with autism. It helps the reader to appreciate the conflicts encountered when an incredibly literal person who is not neuro-typical struggles to make his way in the "real world." Some language is course but only as necessary to accurately reflect authentic situations and individuals. It can be heartbreaking when you reflect that the rules and values we try to instill in children growing to adulthood are the same rules we often bend to the point of breaking. Inspiring.

Aug 23, 2011

I loved the characters and couldn't put the book down once I got into it. The writer definitely succeeded in the suspense department for me. He also did a great job of giving the reader a glimpse into the mind of a teen with Asperger's. Enjoyable read.

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Add Age Suitability
Feb 27, 2011

andrewha1 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 21

Dec 07, 2009

TamaraTracy thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add Notices
Aug 23, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Aug 23, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


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