Flowers for Algernon
This book was recommended to me by a best friend of mine. At first I didn’t like the book to be honest. It seems a little bit cliche the idea of someone dumb suddenly becomes super smart and can do a lot of things that outsmart one’s piers. The first ¼ of the book talks about that, but it also talks about the bullying and sufferings of Charles when he was dumb. It has a sad overtone but it seems like Charles will get his revenge eventually since he is becoming smarter.
I stopped reading at half of the book. I thought I saw through the book and there’s nothing more out of it. Charles will resolve the conflicts with his old “friends”, people who bullied him, and his parents. He will live like a genius and live happily forever with whoever he wants to.
I don’t know why I picked up the book again. Probably I was bored at the Cuban airport where I don’t have internet. Probably I wanted to know why my friend liked the book so much. The second half of the book is awesome. I don’t want to spoil it so if you have any interest, I highly recommend this book.
It turns out that the treatment for low IQ is temporary. Slowly Charlie will lose the magic and will become dumb again. He spent most of his time publishing the medical work about this treatment, and spent the rest of his time dealing with people he interacted throughout his life. This will basically be his death, the death of the new Charlie born out of a lab experiment.
Then I realized that this whole book is like a book about the life of a real human being. It’s not some science fiction magical treatment on a random retard that has nothing to do with real life. It’s us. When we grow up, we start to understand the things people did to us when we were young. We start to become more mature, maybe become smarter than the people we’ve met when we were young. We’ll fall in love with someone, and the reason we fall in love will be different at different stages of our life. We might be successful, might do something that will surprise our future self. Then everyone will eventually die. Some may lose their intellectual ability before they die – a slow process that may be more painful than death itself.
Then I suddenly realized why my friend recommended the book to me. We’ve all been through things in our childhood. That’s how we all felt when we grow up and look back on those things.
I personally am very forgetful. I am often surprised by what I wrote in diaries or when I search through my old usb drive. I found fragments of memory that I don’t even realize I have in my head. I’ll find some smart things and even more stupid things I’ve wrote. This book has all of that. This book makes me feel melancholy.
I’ll give 10/10 for this book. One of the best book I’ve read in a long time, and it’s a shame that I did not finish the book earlier.