Wednesday, January 28, 2009



by Francisco Stork

Marcelo Sandoval is an autistic seventeen-year-old young man with the specific autistic trait of Asperger’s Syndrome that makes it hard for him to communicate and handle social situations. He attends a special education school called Paterson which is for students with varied disorders. At Paterson, Marcelo has been somewhat protected and his special trait of hearing music that no one else can hear is dealt with by specialists. There they study his “music” and what it can mean and represent. His love of animals, especially horses, is satisfied as he is allowed to work in the stables at school.

Also at Paterson, and as he grows up, his mother and sister instill in Marcelo the secure environment where he is accepted for who he is and there is no judgment. The story gives those not familiar with Asperger Syndrome a realistic look at some of the characteristics that one must be aware of when living with someone with the syndrome. For instance, Marcelo doesn’t understand sarcasm like other AS people. In my experience with AS students, I had to learn that they also don’t respond to facial expressions such as disapproval or smiling. Unfortunately, Marcelo’s father thinks he should experience more of the real life world. His dad, Arturo, is a well known lawyer and wants Marcelo to experience situations that everyone deals with so he sets Marcelo up with a job in the mail room for the summer prior to his senior year.

This work experience is obviously life changing for Marcelo. He meets Jasmine, a lovely girl, and Wendell, the company partner’s son, when he goes to the job. Here Marcelo is not sheltered and is opened to dealing with feelings such as anger, trust, jealousy, joy, failure, and longing. While working with some files, Marcelo also finds a picture of a girl with half a face and for some reason connects with the real world because of it. He begins to learn what it means for things to be unfair and how people suffer and what he can do about it. He also finds that the music he always hears which keeps him balanced begins to fade as life complicates things with all these other emotions including possibly falling in love. How this summer will change Marcelo’s life is a question answered perhaps when you read the whole book.

MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD is a wonderful, quick read and one I think everyone should read so as to get a realistic picture of autistic, Asperger people. Currently, 1 out of 150 babies born will have some kind of autism. Marcelo gets an education on life in this book, as will the people who read the book.

Submitted by K. H. (Bingo) originally to Amazon Vine


Alyce said...

This sounds like a good book. I know someone with Asperger's so I find books like this interesting.

Bingo said...

I have taught several children with some form or another and found this a great book! Do try and read it sometime! Thanks for the comments!