Parents' Guide to

Marcelo in the Real World

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Gorgeously moving story about teen with autism.

Marcelo in the Real World Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 18+

Horrible book

A waste of my time. The book went nowhere and had a horrible story line. The author added random stuff into the book and never mentioned it again. They were building up this relationship just to make it go nowhere. Book also mentions a lot of religion that an average reader wouldn't understand. The characters are described poorly or not at all. Book is a waste of time don't bother with it because you will be disappointed. The book mentioned a lot of sex and explicit scenes so I wouldn't recommended reading this if you were young.

This title has:

Too much sex
1 person found this helpful.
age 12+

its ok

I would not recommend this book to a kid who is 11 or below bc it has some things that wouldnt be suitable. Other than all that other stuff this book is ok I guess. If i did read this book when I was 11 my parents wouldnt care bc they would of gave me permission to read it.

This title has:

Educational value
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (5):

This is a beautifully written, carefully constructed, thought-provoking and moving story, with a kind of loving wisdom all too rare in fiction these days. This book has frequently been compared with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, though the similarities are superficial: a high-functioning autistic teen narrator and a mystery. Here the mystery isn't very mysterious -- the reader, and very soon after, Marcelo, have a pretty good idea what happened. The question is what Marcelo will do about it. It is watching Marcelo, with his unusual way of thinking and perceiving, feel his way to a decision and the consequences it will entail that provides the story. And it is seeing Marcelo grow in offbeat understanding of a kind seldom imparted to those with an ordinary view of the world that provides the heart.

In the course of this summer Marcelo faces, thinks about, and discusses with other characters many issues that will fascinate readers as well, from relationships and sex to ethics, human nature, and some unusually deep conversations about religion. The author is at some pains to make clear that Marcelo's condition is not precisely autism or Asperger's Syndrome, but something related, and really it is more of a literary tool to allow the author to look at the ordinary world through extraordinary eyes. This book will have readers taking a look at their own realities with perhaps a different point of view, and wondering if some aspects of Marcelo's so-called disability might actually be -- enviable.

From the Book:

"It is an experience you haven't had, really. At Paterson you are in a protected environment. The kids who go there are not ... normal. Most of them will be the way they are all their lives. You, on the other hand, have the ability to grow and adapt. Even your Dr. Malone thinks this is the case. He's said so since the very first time we saw him. All these years, it wasn't really necessary for you to go to Paterson. You don't really belong there. I know you realize this yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. You just move at a different speed than other kids your age. But in order for you to grow and not get stuck, you need to be in a normal environment. It is time. Here is what I propose: If you work at the law firm this summer, then at the end of the summer, <i>you</i> decide whether you want to spend your senior year at Paterson or at Oak Ridge High."

Book Details

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