‘Wine not Read’ book review: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

ImageOur “Wine not Read” Rating: 2.75 / 5

The book is told from the perspective of Marcelo, a young man who suffers from what appears to be High-functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrom, who is forced by his father to leave the protective world of his specialized school and go work at his father’s law firm in order to experience the ‘real world’ for one summer. You guessed it, major stress and awkward social interactions ensue. Assigned to the mailroom (only after receiving numerous instructions from his father on how to appear ‘normal’) Marcelo meets Jasmine, his young & pretty supervisor. He also meets Stephen, Arturo’s law partner, and his son Wendell, a  bully and womanizer who is hoping to hook up with Jasmine. Marcelo must deal with Wendell pressuring him into doing things he doesn’t want to, with working closely with Jasmine who doesn’t seem pleased to have him as her assistant, and with the myriad of confusing and stressful social interactions he faces, all the while trying to please his Arturo.

Why we liked this book:
It is always interesting to see the world through the eyes of someone who has a particular or different perspective on things…it encourages us to examine the world around us differently. Seeing the world, specifically social interactions, through Marcelo’s eyes with his distinct and unique perspective was interesting. Also, The book touched on some  interesting themes such as parent-child relationships, morality, consequences of actions, etc.

Why we did not like this book:
All the narrative, from all characters, was written in the same blunt and rigid style. That style seemed appropriate for Marcelo due to his Asperger-like symptoms, however did not seem right for the other characters. It made the whole story seem too rehearsed. Also, t
he story touched lightly on many interesting themes, all of which had lots of potential, but none of them were ever really explored in depth. For example, we only ever see the periphery of the father-son conflict…even the peak of their conflict seems subdued in it’s place in the book. And finally, the ending was wrapped up really (too) quickly! It’s as if all the different elements of the book converged and then boom! it was all wrapped up one chapter later. Seriously, soooo mad about the ending!

To sum up…
This book is about “naivety meets ethical dilemma”. It’s got a little romance, a bit of adventure and mystery, some drama, and personal growth. The story had some good moments, but unfortunately for us, the disappointing ending really ruined it. We were all looking forward to reading it, especially since 2 members had previously read/loved a similarly-themed book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (I would seriously recommend that book!) Unfortunately for us, this novel just did not live up to our expectations and hopes 😦

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