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Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo in the Real World


by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo in the Real World Chapter 1 Summary

  • You couldn't get a much more attention-grabbing beginning than we get here: two doctors are rolling Marcelo into the tube of a brain-scanning machine (it doesn't say what kind, but based on the description, it sounds like an MRI).
  • Even more interesting? They're doing it because they want to see pictures of the imaginary music in his head.
  • Yup, our friend Marcelo has a strange condition that lies somewhere on the autism/Asperger's spectrum. In his case, this means he not only suffers from emotional and communication difficulties, but also has the constant presence of his "internal music," or "IM."
  • Toby, the rock-and-roll brain-scan tech, plays real music for Marcelo inside the machine and compares the brain regions that light up when he listens to it to the brain regions that light up when listening to the IM. 
  • Today's musical selections are "The Calling" by Santana, followed by Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3.
  • Sure enough, Toby and the doctor see different lit-up areas. With the real music, the temporal lobes in the front of the brain are glowing, but with the IM, which Marcelo says comes from the back of his head, just above his neck, it's the hypothalamus and limbic system.
  • After the scans, Marcelo goes to meet his mom Aurora in the lobby. He's ready for her to take him to Paterson, his school, where he works with the horses. 
  • There was a new foal born last night, and Marcelo's ready to go meet it.
  • But first, Aurora has a chat with Dr. Malone. Basically, she's asking indirect questions about whether Marcelo should leave Paterson and spend his senior year at Oak Ridge High with "regular" kids.
  • Dr. Malone thinks Paterson is good for Marcelo. Marcelo does, too. 
  • And now, it's time to go meet that baby horse.

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