I just finished the book “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. This book is about Charlie, a mentally disabled man who wants to be smart. He has a surgery to make him a genius and his intellegence mirrors that of a mouse named Algernon that had the same surgery. The surgery changes his life and his intelligence eventually surpasses that of the doctors that conducted the experiment. Soon Algernon experiences a rapid deterioration and Charlie fears the same will happen to him.
This book has filled me with so many different emotions and I’m not sure where to start. Daniel Keyes did an excellent job at capturing the reader by having you read Charlie’s progress reports. As a reader, you go through what Charlie goes through and you feel what Charlie feels. You feel his ups & downs and ride along his journey with him.
Charlie used to be friendly and nice. He would laugh at himself and he enjoyed life but as Charlie’s intelligence increased, he remembered things from his past and realized that everyone in his life was mean to him. This makes him bitter and it makes him shut people out that were his friends before. The only constant in his life are his progress reports.
At the height of his intelligence he mentions that you can’t be intelligent and have love. This breaks me up inside because I think I’ve felt this way before. I am a person that can learn just about anything I want to if I put my mind to it and I have always thought others were the same way. I thought that if they couldn’t learn something they just didn’t want to. I’ve had my struggles in life and college classes where I have not understood something because it is hard to learn and my brain shuts off…but I’ve also had the realization that if it’s something that I really want to learn, I will learn it. This book is a huge eye opener to how we treat other people and it is a must read for everyone!
This book is great for young adults and adults. It is an easy read that’s filled with high emotions. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars!