Flowers for Algernon is a book that has been suggested by our faculty and staff as an all school read. As a teacher we get the pleasure of reading the book over the Christmas Break. It was written by Daniel Keyes in 1959. It is a story of a human experiment (science fiction). Two scientists decide to try to change the intelligence level of mentally retarded adults, at that time it was an acceptable term. Charlie Gordon was the adult who agreed to be a part of the study and brain operation. Charlie keeps a journal on the experience and that is how the story is told from his point of view.
As many of you know, I enjoy listening to books on podcasts when I run or walk my dog. So, I listened to a version of the book and thought it was so interesting. Then I decided I should read the book as well. I detest reading about child abuse; physical, sexual, or mental. The book had much more detail into Charlie’s past and all of the horrible experiences from his parents and terrible bullies in his life. It was disgusting and disturbing. I understand that people have had to fight the demons of their past and many people have endured abuse. I majored in Psychology in college but realized at that time that I would never be a counselor because I cannot handle listening to the details of abuse. This made me extremely uncomfortable with reading the book.
The book was very well written and had an excellent overall theme; humans, whether they are mentally slow, or intellectually advanced, all need human connections; friends, family, and love. The idea of basically transforming a person into a creation has lots of moral conflicts that were quite complex and intriguing. Reading from Charlie’s point of view was both revealing and painful. Overall, it is a great book but I caution anyone that has a hard time reading about abuse.