Marcelo in the Real World

The last audiobook I reviewed was about an autistic child and his imaginary friend. At the end of the book, Max was starting to grow up–so it was only fitting that I read another book about a person on the autism spectrum–this time a young man with a unique form of Asperger’s. Marcelo feels the emotions of music inside of him–something he knows as the IAM.


Marcelo has always gone to a special school, but his father has challenged him to work in his law firm for a summer–or else. He must try to comply with society’s “rules,” or he will have to go to public school in the fall.

At first, Marcelo is extremely awkward and uncomfortable, but he is extraordinarily intelligent, so while he doesn’t have the normal social graces, he begins to fumble along. He even begins to make friends and find passion for things he is working on.

I loved Marcelo. He was so sweet, and so lost. I was thrilled when Jasmine took him under her wing. To say I shipped them is the wrong term because he is asexual, but I loved their friendship absolutely.

Normally when we think of autism and Asperger’s, we think of children, so it was interesting to view this take on our world through an adult experience. Marcelo in the Real World is a coming of age story with a very unique perspective.

This is a painful book to read, in that Marcelo is so intelligent, so conscious of everything people are saying and doing, but no one else really understands that. The author portrays bullying at its worst, even from family members. Marcelo is never safe from people who think they can control him because he processes information differently. It is such a unique perspective from which to view our world, and one few of us ever get to experience…but most of us really should see.


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