This is the most exciting and heartbreaking book I have read in a long time. I can see why it is a classic.
This book is about a man, Charlie Gordon, in his 30's who has an IQ of 68 and a strong desire to learn to read and write. Through a class for retarded adults at a local college, he finds out that a study is going on to test an operation that is supposed to increase a person's IQ. The rest of the story is about the operation, study, and Charlie's participation in them. The format of the book is that of a journal through which, in Charlie's words, we learn of his depressing childhood and his reactions as he does indeed become smarter and can finally understand things about his life that were beyond him until the operation. It is a very uplifting and emotional story that is, even after all these years, (since 1956) still original and haunting. I recommend this book to everyone!
This is a sad, moving book about Charlie Gordon. He begins the book as a kind and sweet retarded man who wants to learn, so he allows himself to be experimented upon. The book is a compilation of his progress reports, and theough them we see him gain inteliigence, slowly at first, but then ever increasingly until he is a genius.
While his intelligence grows, his emotional status does not, and the kind harmless man dissappears and is replaced by an arrogant angry man who finally understands all the bad that has been done to him by those who were suppsoed to care for him and love him.
They say ignorance is bliss, and apparently this book is saying the same thing. It just made me sad. Sad that, once attained, his new found intelligence could not make him happy, and sad that people on the whole prefer him stupid so they can make him the butt of their mocking. Sad of all, I see today's society no different in their treatment of those thought to be inferior.
A great book, thought provoking and humbling.
A friend in NC had told me about this book and so I was inclined to read it. It's a little slow in some part but as a reader you get a real sense of connection with Charlie, the main character. I laughed, cried, and developed a new understanding of empathy.
i cried. maybe that makes me a wimp, but it was touching and beautiful. it made me wonder...what if you were given just a while to experience everything you ever wanted, to be "normal" to "fit in", and then found out it couldn't last. it's almost like cinderella, only much much more real.
As a rule, if a book is on "required reading lists" I won't like it. This book is very much the exception to this rule. I read Flowers for Algernon the first time 35+ years ago when a Jr. high teacher suggested it. I'm sure I "got it" to some degree then but rereading it now I have to say it is one of the most poignant books on the human condition I have ever read.
If you have never read it do so, if it has been several years it is time for a reread.