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Books to read: Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for AlgernonFlowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This review contains spoilers.
This is perhaps one of the easiest books to write an outline for! A mentally handicapped person or as the book refer to, retard, goes through an operation that makes him intelligent, but the side effect is he will lose it all very soon with possible regression to a more inferior mental state than the beginning. Yet this outline reflects so little of how detailed and complex the story is.

You know that feeling of relief and accomplishment when you finish a book? I usually get it after completing a read, but after Flowers for Algernon I felt anything but. Not only I wanted the story to go on, even though I have a pretty clear picture of what is likely to happen to the protagonist, Charlie, I wanted to remain in his world, or more precisely, his mind.

Many stories are told through the main characters words, but in this case this had such a profound effect since it made Charlie’s journey through the different mental states more emphasised and so strongly felt. It even got horrifying for me towards the end to witness his downfall, as if I was walking side by side him unable to do anything.

This book made me think a lot about human behaviour, how we see and treat each other, and how much we hide in our minds. It’s as if we all have multiple personalities that manifest themselves in different situations and what a relief it will to be able to have only one, be one. Maybe some people are like that I don’t know.

I hope Charlie managed to keep enough of his wits to make him happy, and someone is still putting some flowers on Algernon’s grave.

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