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.

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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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Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

While for the most part, most of my reading is done with my eyes, I generally have an audiobook going as well. It takes me a realllllly long time to get through audiobooks, though, because I can’t just sit and listen to one. I have to be doing something–laundry, dishes, and lately, I’ve been listening to one while working.

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I just finished Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicksand I am so glad I listened to this. Some books are just better on audio, and this is one of them.

It is the story of an autistic child, Max, and his trials at a public school, from the point of view of his very intelligent, very realistic imaginary friend, Budo. Max loves learning about military strategy and playing with legos, but he absolutely does not like extra kisses and bonus poops. He has a wonderful teacher at school, parents who are trying very hard to make life just the way Max prefers it, and Budo is always there to make sure he doesn’t get “stuck.”

Things get all topsy-turvey, though and while I’m not going to spoil it and tell you what happens, suffice it to say, there is a major crisis and something goes very very wrong. Budo has to figure out how to solve a very big problem in the real world–which for an imaginary friend is not an easy thing to do.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend made me laugh, it made me cry, and it really really stressed me out. It’s written from the mind of one in elementary school, so the language is very simple, and sometimes the mental capacity is very frustrating. I found myself screaming sometimes, as an adult, as “not a parent” with not a lot of patience, because I wanted Max and Budo to do something just a little faster, or better, or different. But…that wouldn’t have been the story.

I really did love this. And I’ll be looking for more from Matthew Dicks. Whether you read this, or listen to it. Make sure to pick this up. Parents and teachers, especially, will love this I think.

 

Fulfills PopSugar #7:  A book with nonhuman characters