Flowers For Algernon: Daniel Keyes

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book, 5 stars

definitely one of my favorite books.

i read this when i was still in middleschool, and i remember being so moved after i read it.  it’s an emotionally stirring critique on humanity, and the proportional understanding of it with one’s intelligence or ignorance.

it’s about this man, Charlie Gordon who is mentally challenged.  In his perspective, man is good, but only because he fails to conceive their true nature through his ignorant condition.  But this perspective gives him happiness.  His life is then changed when he’s offered a chance to partake in an experiment, where he meets the lab mouse Algernon, who also had undergone the experimental procedure.  After all his meds kick in, he progressively gains intellect (progresses on his reading and writing) but also in understanding and assessing everything around him- noticing that the world isn’t as wonderful as he remembered it to be.  He’s fully capable of comparing his present state to his past condition, and remembers all his experiences, but only does he now fully “understand” all the deeper implications involved with his friends, with relationships, with his family, and instead of happiness through his new gained intellect, he realizes the ramification of “knowing” and begins to experience emotional pain.

i won’t tell you what happens in the end, but it is such a great book, filled with a lot of psychological debate, and deeper investigation to the ramification of intelligence, and an overall sad critique of the darkness of humanity, yet sheds quiet light on the great things such as the understanding of love, and even the pain it can bring.

ya…go read it.

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