Recommended Book (Fiction) Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Prestonian

Registered User
Feb 5, 2024
11
0
A science fiction novel that captures brilliantly the effects of rapid onset dementia, and may be the most heart-breaking book ever written.

It tells of a man called Charlie Gordon who has severe learning difficulties and a very low IQ. He is chosen to take a revolutionary drug that will boost his intelligence. He is introduced to Algernon, a now super intelligent mouse that the drug was first tested on, and takes Algernon in as a pet. As Charlie becomes super-intelligent he studies the very drugs he himself has been artificially advanced on, and realises to his horror that the effect will wear off and reverse. He sees Algernon lose his advanced skills first and die, before his own knowledge, memories and skills begin to rapidly fade. The book is written as if by Charlie. It starts with near child-like writing, full of spelling mistakes but gets more complex and near scientific and poetic at the book's peak, before reverting back to its original state later - though Charlie's dementia is due to medical experimentation going wrong, the book is a perfect metaphor for natural forms of dementia too. We start off learning nothing, live full rich lives and then if dementia bites, we lose it all with a vengeance. A book I could never recommend enough.
 

Prestonian

Registered User
Feb 5, 2024
11
0
Actually been familiar with the powerful book for some years - thought it was worth recommending to the list page as it is quite timeless and I do look at work relating to loss, grief, illness - it helps me to feel less like I am alone in my feelings. Cheers