"Marcelo in the Real World" by Francisco Stork, read by Lincoln Hoppe

This was the first fiction book on tape I've listened to in a really long time. Except for one or two brief dialogs where it was hard to tell who was talking, the reader Lincoln Hoppe did an EXCELLENT job. So much so that I believe a large portion of why I enjoyed the book was the way he read it. It added so many different dimensions, the way he narrated Marcelo's voice.

I enjoyed the story. There were multiple layers of conflict. Marcelo was a very interesting character with a mild form of Autism. It seemed that Stork knew his stuff when it comes to Autism. But I don't really know because it's not something that I know very much about.

I was afraid for most of the book that there would be some elicit scenes. There weren't. I don't want to give too much away, in case you read it. I will say there were some of the scummiest scum bag of characters in this book, and there is some sexual content as well as some language. I think if this were a movie, it would be easy to make it PG, or PG 13, but you could also make it R. Mostly because movies with more than one or two instances of the f word are automatically R, and this book has several of those. I think Stork used it in a way that added to the story, although it was a bit annoying.

The target audience of this book is unclear. I wouldn't want to read it if I were 16 or younger, certainly not in a school setting. There is way too much blunt discussion of sex. There are allusions to rape. There is also a theme of religion. Marcelo is obsessed with religion. All in all, the religious discussions didn't even really phase me at all; they were interesting but not that crucial to the story.


The conflict was good, the characters interesting (especially Marcelo), but the ending was lacking. It felt rushed and underdeveloped. Also, totally unbelievable. It didn't feel like he ever reached any sort of conclusion with Jasmine, even though that's what the author seemed to want you to believe.

The best part of the story, the part where Stork really succeeded in showing rather than telling was when Marcelo confronts his father about what is one of the most important conflicts in the book, which is Marcelo's realization that people with money get different service than those without. I think this was the climax of the book, when Marcelo asks his dad why Extelle (sp) gets different treatment than Vydromec (sp - hey, I didn't read it, I just listened to it)..

I would recommend this book, especially in audio book format. I don't think my in laws would like it, but probably my sister Sarah would. Maybe my mom would.

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