Book Bites Book Bites: My Recipe for Books about Unlikely Heroes Rebecca Kuitems

For this week’s book choices, I want you to get inside the head of someone new. These are two books that featured voices from unlikely heroes (in my opinion, those are the best kinds ;) ).

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Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Man, I love this book. To be fair, I read it twice for an academic article I’m writing. But, it’s a fantastic story about a teen boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who is forced to spend time in “the real world” per his father’s instructions. It’s a first person narrative, and it really helps you step into the shoes of someone who doesn’t see the world in the “normal ” way.  In my opinion you’ll find that this kid is a heck of a lot smarter than the rest of us because of it.

What makes this book so great is that it doesn’t apologize or make excuses for Marcelo, despite his lack of normalcy. The author takes the character seriously, and he makes a marked effort to show growth and change throughout the story. I’ve very rarely found a story that did both for characters with disabilities or disorders.

Quote: “The term ‘cognitive disorder’ implies that there is something wrong with the way I think or with the way I perceive reality. I perceive reality just fine. Sometimes I perceive more of reality than others”

You’ll like this if: You enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time, you’re a fan of unlikely heroes, and/or you’re a human.

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Little Bee by Chris Cleave

This book is a beautifully written story that makes you think about human connections and how we decide whose life is worth more. (Is that something we’re even really deciding?).  I don’t want to give too much away, so check out the link for a really great teaser by the author.

The narrative follows the stories of two different women. The first is at an immigration detention center awaiting admission into the United Kingdom. The second is a business woman with a son that is mysteriously missing a few fingers. Figuring out the intersection of the two women’s lives is definitely worth the time you put into the story.

Quote: “On the girl’s brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”

You’ll enjoy this if:  you like tragedy twinged with humor, you are intrigued by the juxtaposition of cultures, and/or you enjoyed Atonement.

Images via Goodreads 1 and 2

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  1. I definitely loved Little Bee. Her voice is so innocent and helps educate about how immigration is handled in another part of the world. It can be emotionally trying at times but is worth the read. Marcelo in the Real World sounds amazing, I’ll have to read it because I did love the Curious Dog Incident at Night-time. Great reviews!

  2. For any UK readers I think the book is called ‘The Other Hand’ here. I agree that it’s worth a read!