As you know, I belong to two book clubs outside of my little challenge here. As I personally am always looking for great book recommendations, I figured I'd write a short review of each book I read for these book clubs. The review will be shorter and more casual than the BW&R reviews... just so you know what I read and what I thought of it
Synopsis: Daniel Keyes wrote little SF but is highly regarded for one classic, Flowers for Algernon. As a 1959 novella it won a Hugo Award; the 1966 novel-length expansion won a Nebula. The Oscar-winning movie adaptation Charly (1968) also spawned a 1980 Broadway musical.
Following his doctor's instructions, engaging simpleton Charlie Gordon tells his own story in semi-literate "progris riports." He dimly wants to better himself, but with an IQ of 68 can't even beat the laboratory mouse Algernon at maze-solving:
I dint feel bad because I watched Algernon and I lernd how to finish the amaze even if it takes me along time.
I dint know mice were so smart.
Algernon is extra-clever thanks to an experimental brain operation so far tried only on animals. Charlie eagerly volunteers as the first human subject. After frustrating delays and agonies of concentration, the effects begin to show and the reports steadily improve: "Punctuation, is? fun!" But getting smarter brings cruel shocks, as Charlie realizes that his merry "friends" at the bakery where he sweeps the floor have all along been laughing at him, never with him. The IQ rise continues, taking him steadily past the human average to genius level and beyond, until he's as intellectually alone as the old, foolish Charlie ever was--and now painfully aware of it. Then, ominously, the smart mouse Algernon begins to deteriorate...
Last night, I finished reading Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I was actually the one to recommend this selection to my book club... and although I know some people were hesitant to read it, I'm so glad I did. I was just so touched by the story. You fall in love with a sweet, simple-minded man... and then get to witness as the world he's lived in his entire 30-something years unravels around him. Reading this, you make the realization that knowledge and intelligence is really both a curse and a blessing at the same time. The pain that accompanies Charlie receiving something he's wanted his entire life... the discovery of how he appeared to those around those, those he loved... it's a heartwrenching journey we take with Charlie. And I'll admit it... I cried! Not like that's surprising to those who know me. I cry pretty much any time something touches me. And don't even get me STARTED on old people!