Thursday, June 4, 2009

Marcelo in the Real World (2009)

Marcelo talking about himself in the third person is one of the manifestations of autism that he shows. In Francisco X. Stork's book, he is a very intelligent boy who has attended a school for kids with special needs and has developed a real talent for working with the school's therapy ponies. At the end of his junior year he is looking forward to a summer working in the school's stables but his father informs him that instead he will work in the mail room of his law offices with a young woman named Jasmine. This job will help Marcelo develop the ability to "read" people's facial expressions and learn how to interpret the many expressions that can flummox autistic people.
A cross between a John Grisham novel and A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, this book gives us a story of a young man who lands in a situation that's way over his head. His father's firm represents a company that sells car windshields that splinter when broken into jagged pieces instead of harmless pebbles. Marcelo comes across the picture of a girl whose received a chunk of glass in her face, not only disfiguring her, but serious enough to interfere with her eating and talking. Should he persue trying to help her or keep his mouth shut to protect his father?
Mystery readers and readers the Haddon book about an autistic boy will really enjoy this book.
My rating for this book: +++

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