Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork is the third autism novel I've read. A few years ago, Anonymous and I had a brief discussion on how many books on the same subject you needed to create a genre. Is autism getting there?
I loved Marcelo, himself, but I may be the only reader of this well-starred book who wasn't all that taken with the story. It seemed heavy on lesson for my taste. All the good characters work for the poor and sick, and all the bad characters are corporate lawyers or their secretaries. (Okay, okay. You're going to say that's just like real life, aren't you?) As I read this book, I felt as if I was supposed to be learning to do good.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to teach readers to do good, of course. I'm just one of those who believe that in fiction, you need to be really subtle about it.
I also didn't get the side trip to Vermont to visit the coarse, beer-swilling farmers. And why include a coarse, beer-swilling farmer with Alzheimer's? If it was necessary to get Marcelo to Vermont so he could be exposed to the restorative aspects of nature or something, it would have kept the story more on task to somehow send him to the Weston Priory. Marcelo did have a special interest in theology, after all, which included a desire to say the rosary. Instead of being friendly with a rabbi, Marcelo could have been friendly with a monk.
Maybe there will be a sequel.
Marcelo in the Real World has a lovely cover, which Blogger won't let me upload for some reason.