Reviews of Flowers for Algernon (1966)
In this book, the author considers the implication of a treatment that would enhance intelligence, but only for a short time. First tested on Algernon, a mouse, it initially looks so promising that, before the long-term consequences are known, it is tested on a half-witted human, Charlie Gordon who becomes a genius. However, Algernon, after his initial performances, falls back and becomes stupid, and eventually dies. Charlie, aware of this evolution, studies biology and because of his extraordinary intelligence, realises what happened and understand that it will also be his fate, and that nothing can be done. Precisely because he is so bright, he know that if he cannot find a way out, noone else will find one. This is a very strong book, a must read, but brace yourself, it is extremely hard.
(This review refers to the 1966 version titled “Flowers for Algernon”)
Review by prizmski (2003-03-08)
A terribly though-provoking book about a man and a mouse who are strikingly similar. This book is extremely genuine and really makes one think about people and their societal outlook. I believe this book is part of the curriculum in a number of junior highs/middle schools throughout the country, and with good reason. The life we see Charlie lead, as his IQ skyrockets and then plummets, brings about emotions with similar highs and lows. You are often very happy for Charlie, and at other times quite sad. Overall, this book is very well written, and the acclaim it has received is well-deserved.
Review by klsnyders (2003-03-07)
Watching Charlie slowly slip away was a moving, visceral, painful experience.
Simply, cleanly done.