Saturday, June 2, 2012

YA Book Review: Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo in the Real WorldMarcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
My rating: 4 of 5 starsWalk the Walk

The balance of ugly and beautiful, truth and deceit, innocence and experience carries Francisco X. Stork's Marcelo in the Real World.

Marcelo's journey takes the reader through a considerable number of encounters and moral confrontations that would test anyone, let alone someone on the autism spectrum. And I admire the fact that Stork created a journey where it doesn't matter that Marcelo has a form of Aspergers--it both is and is not the story.

The morally bankrupt decisions made by others would occur whether Marcelo was there or not--true, Wendell does try to take advantage of Marcelo, but once the reader gets to know Wendell he'll realize that Wendell would try to take advantage of anyone. And does.

The language, unapologetic and raw, compliments some of the realities we all encounter at some point in the real world. I liked that Stork gave Marcelo a trusted spiritual advisor in the rabbi as well as budding, and patient,friend in Jasmine. Women are victimized and marginalized in this "real world" and it takes young men like Marcelo, the fired Robert Steeley, Jasmine's childhood friend Jonah, or attorney Geronimo Garcia, to balance the assault on men on could perceive in the novel.

Without a deft hand, Stork's novel could have simply fallen into the theme of "Men can be cruel in the real world" and left it at that--but it remains much more than that.

While the implied inevitable romance with Jasmine does feel a little forced or disjointed to me (taking it any further would have marred the book), I enjoyed Marcelo's journey and certainly give the highest recommendations to this novel.

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