Marcelo in the Real World Study Guide

Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo in the Real World is a novel by Franciso Stork, published in 2009. The book follows a seventeen-year-old autistic boy named Marcelo Sandoval. After many years in school for special needs children, Marcello's father has him work at his law firm to get experience in the "real world." There he meets Jasmine, a caring supervisor, and Wendell, a greedy and immature young man obsessed with Jasmine. The story follows Marcelo as he is exposed to society's hypocrisies and suffering, eventually reemerging a changed but optimistic person.

Marcelo Sandoval, is a seventeen-year-old who hears music in his head as a result of mild autism, described as a“cognitive disorder” by his father. He attends a school that caters to the needs of special children. His father, a lawyer, confronts Marcelo about needing experience in the “real world” and Marcelo ends up working at his father's law firm.

At the law firm, Marcelo meets Jasmine, who works with him in the mail room. He also meets Mr. Holmes, who runs the law firm with Arturo, and his son, Wendell, who is“about three years older” than Marcelo. Wendell, described as a character with “the emotional maturity of an eight-year-old” according to Jasmine, attempts to befriend Marcelo. Wendell, who is attracted to Jasmine, explains sex to Marcelo, and how attraction feels and works.

The book deals with Marcelo's friendship with Wendell, who pushes him to do things he doesn't like, and Jasmine, who introduces him to her family in Vermont. Eventually, Marcelo "fails" at his job, by refusing to go along with Wendell's plans. Instead, he plans on going to live in Vermont after he graduates, get a degree at a nearby college in nursing, and raise ponies on the Vermont farm to help with therapy for kids with special needs. Jasmine kisses him on the cheek and, after the internal music had ceased ever since he started working at the law firm, it returns in“the most beautiful of melodies."

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