Booktalks

Marcelo in the Real World Booktalk

Booktalk for the critically acclaimed novel, Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork

  • Grades: 9–12

Marcelo in the Real World video booktalk

What is truth? How do you tell right from wrong? What if a good person does a bad thing, does that make him bad? Marcelo has to find the answers to these questions and more when he spends the summer in the “real world” of his father’s law firm.

Marcelo’s brain works differently. He hears his internal music, and sometimes sees it as well. He can’t eat and talk at the same time. He gets lost because he gets distracted by all the things going on around him. He has to concentrate on one thing at a time. At the school he’s always gone to, Paterson, that’s not a problem, because it’s a school for kids like Marcelo — kids with “special needs.”

But he’s 17 now, and his father thinks it’s time for Marcelo to find out what the “real world” is like, the world outside Paterson, the world where his differences won’t be accepted, the world that will make him change to fit in. The world of his father’s law firm. So, because Marcelo’s father doesn’t ever change his mind once it’s made up, Marcelo will spend the summer working in the mailroom, instead of training the ponies at Paterson and getting ready for his last year at the school.

That summer job changes Marcelo in ways no one could have expected. He not only learns about the mailroom duties he’s responsible for, he also learns about jealousy and anger, about how some people lie and deceive, about how many times people say one thing and mean another. He also learns about love and friendship. He learns what trust is, and he learns that some people can be trusted and some can’t. In fact, he learns a lot more about the “real world” and how to live in it than his father ever expected him to.

Can a temporary mailroom clerk shake up a whole law firm? Learn how Marcelo sees the real world, and find out.


This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.

  • Subjects:
    Reading, Loyalty
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