Friday, July 17, 2009

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo Sandoval hears music that nobody else can hear - part of an autism-like condition that no doctor has been able to identify. But his father has never fully believed in the music or Marcelo's differences, and he challenges Marcelo to work in the mailroom of his law firm for the join "the real world."
There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it's a picture he finds in a file - a picture of a girl with half a face - that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.
(Summary from back of ARC)

After reading this review and basing my expectations off of that, I find myself slightly disappointed but still satisfied. Marcelo in the Real World wasn't the sort of edge-of-your-seat type of reading that I was expecting. It was more thoughtful and slow and deliberate. It was like an old classical piece of art as opposed to an Andy Warhol. Both beautiful, just in different ways. I think I relate more to the Andy Warhol-esque books but I still have a deep love for the classical ones. I just don't think they're as fun.

The best thing about this novel was how it was narrated. Marcelo has a mental problem that slows him down. His analyzations and conversations and reactions are all more thought out and perfectly executed than most normal people. He takes the time to make connections and figure out the best way to approach a problem. More people should be like him. I think there would be a lot less hate and a lot more love and appreciation if everyone took the time to sit down for a few minutes and think things through before acting.

I also liked how Marcelo affected the people around him. How their lives were improved and made better just by his being around. Like everything he touched turned to gold. Again, we need more Marcelos.

The only thing that didn't work for me was how slow it moved. And yeah, I realize that that totally goes against the point of the book. But to me, things are just more fun if they move fast and this book moved at a snail's pace. It took me a while to get used to. But I guess that just proves that I'm one of those people who needs to slow down once in a while.

So yeah, this was a pretty fine book. I think Marcelo will strike a chord with anyone who reads his story and cause them to take a step back and look at things from a different angle. Definitely recommended.



  1. I really liked this book. But for me, slow books are great. Marcelo was such an interesting character to me. Great review. :)

    - Alex

  2. Sounds like it might be a really good read, more of a book you savor than race through.


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