4 out of 5 stars to Flowers for Algernon, a classic novella written in 1966 by Daniel Keyes, often read in high school as standard curriculum in America. A few shorter versions of the story exist, as well as film or TV adaptions for those who want to compare the literary art with the visual. I enjoyed this book when I read it the first time and even returned to reading the shorter version during a college English course. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the story of Charlie, who at the time when this was written, may have been called “mentally slow.” If this took place in current times, it’d be a very different approach to both telling the story and to trying to help Charlie. So the book must be read and interpreted based on it being written nearly 50 years earlier.
Charlie takes his time understanding everything around him, but at his core, you immediately see that he’s a good guy. He loves a pet mouse named Algernon. They both go through a similar experiment and their intelligence begins growing, but then Algernon becomes very sick. No spoilers here, so you’ll have to read it to see what happens to the mouse and to Charlie. The book for me was a great story to immerse yourself in from an emotional stance and a philosophical stance. People are different. Some are smart. Some are not smart. But there’s a purpose for everyone. How far do we take medicine to help everyone? If everyone continues to get smarter, will we run out of supplies and space? If we don’t help those who need it, will they become the less fortunate asked to do the harder manual work because they cannot think as well as others? All of these are questions which plague your mind as you read… as they did readers 50 years ago. I believe it’s books like these that helped shape who America is today — some great things came out of it, but also, some hurtful and potentially dangerous things came out of it. Though the intentions are not to divide people into segments and groups, that’s what ends up happening. That said, the author and the story are to me, simply trying to tell a perspective, and then conversation and education help navigate that middle line of how to move forward. When you think about the mouse, you have love, guilt, fear, pain. When you see Charlie, you wonder… what happens to the future of our race? It’s a great comparison and contrast to difference aspects of life and humanity. I’d like to read this again now that it’s been over 20 years… just to see if I feel any differently. But I definitely think it’s something people who enjoy reading should give a chance to. It’s a broad sweep of what people think should be done to help others, as opposed to what the right decision is for the good of that individual.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.