Review: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

0-545-05474-5I loved this book.

I’ll be honest, it’s not one that I would normally pick up from the description. But my editor is reading it right now and encouraged me to read it too. I got a copy from the library, devoured it, and then bought a copy for my personal library.

The premise of the book is simple: Marcelo is on the autism spectrum– he says he’s best described as having Asperger’s but admits that’s not quite accurate either. He goes to a special school that he LOVES. His father, a lawyer, tells Marcelo that if he can successfully handle an internship at his dad’s law firm that summer (in the “real world”), he can go back to his school for senior year. Otherwise, he will need to go to the public school in town.

As I said, a simple enough premise. But the execution is masterful.

The characters– especially Marcelo– are so deep, the conversations are fascinating, the writing is beautiful.

It was one of my favorite reads of 2016.



Doors/Goals Update

collage photos of doors on the old districts of Europe

Hi peeps. So, I figured I should do an update on my goals. Less for you, more for me.

Behind Door 1: a final manuscript of Yes Novel Salt Novel (???) (edited 1.10.16)

I’m about to start on a second draft of Salt Novel. I have lots of ideas but very little motivation. I need to crank out a draft in the next 5-6 weeks. Ultimately, I need to have a final draft by next summer in order to publish by summer 2018. I feel like I know what I want to do with this novel– though I’m not entirely sure how to do that. If you’re the praying sort, this would be something you could pray for me about. I desperately want to write a beautiful, thought-provoking, successful novel, but HOW? I read this thing today by Neil Gaiman about how Gene Wolfe told him, “You never learn how to write a novel. You only learn to write the novel you’re on.”

I need to learn to write Salt Novel.

Behind Door 2: a first draft of my next novel.

I mean, technically I have a first or second draft of Yes Novel. Does that count? That’s all I’m gonna eke out this year.

Behind Door 3: three new story ideas, just the bare bones.

I do indeed have some ideas tumbling around my mind on the delicate cycle. Stuff about foxes and carousels and Romania. It feels far away though.

Behind Door 4: a writing retreat.

I’m taking off the week of Independence Day. I don’t think I’ll have enough money to travel anywhere, but a staycation sounds so nice. My basement is beautiful and inspiring and cool and will work. I’d rather have Lake Superior out my window, but the pond at my townhome will have to do!

Behind Door 5: a day of creative exploration.

Just asked on Facebook for suggestions. I need to start crafting this!!

Behind Door 6: a pruned TBR shelf, via reading and weeding.

This has been a success. I’ve sold a lot of books to Half Price Books, read a bunch, and am being more selective about the books I buy! I’m using the library more too. Note: I’m not against having a large book collection, but there is something not right about purchasing books that sit unread for years and years, only to sell them off at a fraction of the cost. This is about being a smarter reader and a smarter steward.

Behind Door 7: a book of poetry every month.

I really suck at this, don’t I? I never get more than 3 or 4 months into the year before I lose sight of this goal. I need to try to pick this back up. This summer’s book is My Bright Abyss by Christian Wiman. I need to get cracking!

Behind Door 8: a healthier writing lifestyle.

I’m trying. So hard. I’m taking more breaks, giving myself more grace, going regularly to therapy, trying to eat better. I need to get outside more, especially before the Minnesota summer gets too hot to handle. Trying, trying, trying.