This is a clever book in so many ways and it attempts to confront so many social and philosophical questions - questions all the way up to the meaning of life.
I read this story in high school and remember it being pretty good, so I decided to read it again. What I found was a much different book. Now I know why there were rumors about it being provocative. I must have read the cleaned up version, with none of the main character's sexual hang-ups. This book is tragic, sad, and thought provoking. I recommend it for a book club.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
It made me sad as I kept reading "Flowers for Algernon." I'm roughly the same age as Charlie and also was born with a disability. I could had had been mentally retarded, but by mother nature, my disability is different than his. I really don't think when Daniel Keyes was writing this book, he was going for the science fiction genre, but more how society treat people differently base on their mental status.
As Charlie gets smarter and smarter, he is treated differently and his attitude becomes more pompous as he learns more and more. He is no longer the happy go lucky guy that used to mopped floors in the bakery. As the experiment becomes more successful, he starts losing himself.
I can relate to Charlie. Although I am not a genius and I was raise in a loving family, the flashbacks of Charlie's parents is so real to me. For example, when his mother seeks for a cure to his mental retardation, I also had a similar instant in my life. For me, I had every treatment that my grandma could think of to make me try to walk or use my hands. None of the treatments worked and my family was forward thinkers at the time and gave me every resource to succeed.
If there was a magic cure to relieved me from my Cerebral Palsy and be like Charlie and be normal, I wonder how would my friends and family treat me. More importantly would I be walking with the norm, or would I be walking with a swagger and start to distance myself from people that I use to know?
This is an extremely powerful book. There is so much to the story other than the lab rat and the science experiment with the mentally retarded. A book like this is very rare these days.
"Flowers for Algernon" was published in 1959 and I have yet to read anything else that touch me.
Pure excellence. .
Even when the ending was clear and inevitable I still wanted Charlie's fate to be different. He was a character you cheered for and wept for and wanted the absolute best for. He was an unexpected hero. His rise and fall were heart wrenching, especially when the people around him continued to fail him. Their insecurities became his obstacles, they could only accept him when they considered him to be less.
Charlie's awakening and realization that people he thought he could trust had betrayed him by treating him as a source of entertainment instead of as a friend.
Be careful what you wish for.
This is a great and well designed story it captured me slowly but firmly as the book proceeded. An interesting psychological novel on three major topics:
a) The secret horrors of the life of mentally less able persons.
b) The potentially devastating effect of being too intelligent.
c) The Hubris in science
All characters are interesting and lively, vivid, especially the main one and the women he interacts with. The plot has many turns and interesting viewpoints on the life of the main character.
It is also very well narrated, with an almost neutral tone, but still well characterized individual voices. I warmly recommend it.
I think that this story lost some of it's punch for me as I knew so much about it before I started reading. Perhaps I would have preferred the short-story version, as I found that the story dragged in sections.
The narrator does an excellent job of trying to portray Charlie's various levels of intelligence with his voice, versus the use of spelling errors and the like in the text version.
It won't seem like it a first.. but if you're not distracted.... and you let yourself feel the story... you will be moved... so much so... I dare say... that everything you ever thought about those less fortunate than you are... will slowly melt away...This is a beautiful... sad... story.. worth every spare minute of your time... I don't want to ruin it for you... but... you need to know... that it will enrich your soul... and... it will break your heart...
The descriptions were nice and the narration was superb! But most of all the way the character went back and forth with himself.
When the character told the reader that him and Alice had more in just a short time then most people had in a lifetime.
I am not an emotional person per say, but this story has a way of making you really rethink and analyze the emotions of the character.
This is a brilliant story! It opens and takes hold and doesn't let you go until the close. What a fantastically thought out and wonderful read!
Really good book! I wish science had come that far. You have to love Charlie with all that he went through. I cried alot.
Charlie changes and morphs a lot through this story. I love that the narrator changed with Charlie. It helped to capture what was going on.
This is a very quick read that will make you feel something, and think something. Guaranteed.
The honest emotion behind Charlie is so pure and believable, and it evolves so well as the story progresses.
I also love that we are reading Charlie's diary the whole time. It adds another level of ethical dilemma to the story.
Should we be doing this? And SHOULD we be DOING this??! (Science playing God, and reading someone else's diary.)
Charlie! He's the main event, so that makes sense.
A journey inside an evolving mind.
I wasn't sure how I would rate this book until the end. Upon reflection of the total story, I decided I really liked it. The narration was excellent and you could tell exactly when Charlie progressed and regressed. A bittersweet, thought provoking story. I'm sure I didn't think of it on this level when I first read it as a youth. I'm glad I decided on the re-read as an adult.