Sunday, July 01, 2007
44. "Flowers for Algernon" - Daniel Keyes
Charlie Gordon, a mentally retarded janitor in a bakery, volunteers for a new surgery/treatment that will increase his IQ. Indeed, it does, and Charlie becomes the first human to undergo the procedure that made him a super-genius.
He isn't the first victim, though. Algernon, a white lab mouse, also went through the procedure, and originally beat Charlie at solving mazes. But soon, Charlie sees his own destiny through the behavior of Algernon.
Told via progress reports written by Charlie, it is a desperate and gripping novel that remains timely in its questions of science and manipulation, as well as religious arguments.
The first review on the inner flap of the book said, "Charlie will break your heart." That didn't happen to me. As he progressed into a super-human, I lost empathy for him, which I think Keyes purposely manipulated. Overall, I was satisfied with the read, but anxious to see the theatrical version and how the actors would pull off two Charlies. Most of the time, when I love a book, I am not looking forward to other adaptations of it, so this knocks Algernon down a bit.
3.0 out of 5.0 Marijuana Milkshakes.
Banned book - oh dear, wet dreams and other acts of puberty, as well as some sexual references.