Book Review: Flowers For Algernon | Wordy Wednesday

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Today, I’m reviewing Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

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With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance–until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

I first heard of this book when I was reading Everything Everything back in September. The main character referenced it on occasion, and I was intrigued. I then forgot about it until very recently, and decided to read it.

I do not know how to review this book.

If I was to try and describe it in one word, I’d probably say sad, although that doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Basically, this is not a happy book. If you want a light, feel-good story, you’re looking at the wrong book. Despite the fact that I have a huge list of books that made me cry, and this isn’t one of them, I’d have to say that this is one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. It’s just so tragic the way that everything unfolds. Seeing his happiness fade as his intelligence grows, and as he comes to realize more and more things about people and the world is just so terrible. I can’t even begin to describe how I feel about this.

I’m trying to write a longer review, but my words are failing me. Just read it, okay? And then maybe you’ll understand.

I’ve given it four stars on Goodreads, because that’s the criteria that it best fits into, but I feel like I can’t really rate it like that. It’s just such a beautifully tragic story about life and intelligence and people and society and the world and everything else, and I feel like it can’t really be categorized with all the other books I’ve read.

I just don’t have the words for this book. You just need to read it and let it speak for itself.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

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