Saturday, December 19, 2009
Marcelo in the Real World
Francisco X. Stork's Marcelo in the Real World is another entry in the autism book category, but it's not a problem book, it's a book about a boy who happens to process the world slightly differently and the summer he spends working in his father's law office. Marcelo's father is worried about his eventual integration into society; he's been attending a private school that caters to children with various issues. Marcelo must prove he can handle a job in the "real world" for a summer, or else he'll finish his high school years in a public school.
Marcelo has something like Asperger's; that's not quite his diagnosis but it gives people an idea of how to relate to him. He sees the world in a concrete way, unable to be hurried and easily overwhelmed by the shifting environments and stimuli in new places. But he knows and strengthens his ability to get around, to understand people, and to make tough choices. Because the story isn't about his problems relating, the story is about trust, between a father and son, between the people who are or who pretend to be your friends, and people you don't even know. B+