30 Day Book Challenge // 28

Favourite quote from a book.

Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction story by Daniel Keyes. The story is told through a series of journal entries written by the story’s protagonist Charlie Gordon; a man with a low IQ who works a menial job as a janitor in a bakery.

Charlie is selected to undergo an experimental surgical technique to increase his intelligence. This technique had already been successfully tested on Algernon, a laboratory mouse. 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 until Algernon unexpectedly begins to deteriorate.

P.S. please tel prof Nemur not to be such a grouch when pepul laff at him and he would have more frends. Its easy to have frends if you let pepul laff at you. Im going to have lots of frends where I go.

These words constitute Charlie’s second-to-last postscript in his final progress report. Having decided to cut himself off from all the people he has known. Charlie writes his farewells, but saves a special word of advice for Nemur.

Throughout the novel, Nemur is portrayed as a humorless and intensely career-focused man lacking in human compassion. At the height of his genius, Charlie’s own intellectual self-absorption threatens to turn him into a similarly cold individual.

Charlie comes to learn that intellectual superiority is not the most important goal of a human life. In this report, written after he has fully reverted to his original state, even though he is no longer capable of articulately expressing his emotional discoveries, Charlie tries to pass on some of what he has learned to Nemur.

P.S. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard.

Thanks for reading.
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22 Responses to “30 Day Book Challenge // 28”

  1. retiredmustang62

    I read the book years ago. To me, the most poignant moment is when Charlie writes the words “Oh God, please don’t take it all away…Please…please let me not forget how to read and write.” I can’t imagine what it would be like to feel myself losing those two things. Thanks for reminding me of this fabulous book!

  2. My Warfarin Diet

    Every couple of years I re-read “Flowers for Algernon”. I was sad to hear of the authors’ death announced ~6 months ago. It wasn’t required reading when I was in school, but I believe it might be now.

    • bluchickenninja

      I didn’t realise the author died recently. Thats sad.

      I don’t think my school ever had required reading. Is that an american thing? We never really read the classics in English.

      • My Warfarin Diet

        Required reading is just a term for a book being on the curriculum – what gets covered in a [school] year.

        I’m trying to remember what I read – “To Kill a Mockingbird” was covered. In my last year, “Brave New World” and “1984” were options. I remember seeing copies of “Fahrenheit 451” but didn’t know of anyone who’d read it. Friends got to read “The Handsmaid’s Tale”, but I don’t remember what I read that year. I remember some reading “Little Women”, and similar period pieces, but I think it was more self-interest.

        What stuff did you get?

        • bluchickenninja

          Ahh okay. We would only do 1 book a year. We would do a few poems during the year too.

          From what I remember we did The Cay by Theodore Taylor, Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman, Pig by Roald Dahl, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and Flowers for Algernon. Oh and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

          One of my English teachers did work for the local newspaper reviewing movies so we got to study the Romeo and Juliet film too. That was a fun class.

  3. My Warfarin Diet

    I remember “I Am Legend” being on our list. I only know “Pig” because of the movie – I remember more of the other Dahl titles. I don’t recognize the other stuff.

    Now that you mention it, I remember Shakespeare – “Julius Caesar” and “Romeo and Juliet”. I remember seeing a local production of “The Tempest” but don’t believe it was on the curriculum. Some poems, and short stories like “The Catbird Seat”.

    I enjoyed aspects of English class, but knew my lack of strength in it meant that I should focus on sciences to be employable.

    • bluchickenninja

      I didn’t know Pig was made into a movie. Will need to have a look at that. I think our English teachers were able to pick different stuff every year. We never really had a list of books we had to read. So we usually ended up reading less well known stuff.

      I was never very good at english either. Though I wasn’t that great at the sciences too. I did classics in my last year of high school and that was a brilliant class.

      • My Warfarin Diet

        Sorry – I was thinking of “Babe”. Dahl came up often, but I don’t remember reading anything. I had the impression that some of it got a bit dark.

        We weren’t given a list of books, but I knew of some teachers that would provide students with a copy of the curriculum to get an idea of what topics would be covered and to what depth. Just as there are banned books, there were suggested reading for a given year/grade.

        I was better at physics than math – guess I needed something to help conceptualize things. And I tend to be pragmatic, so it makes sense…

        I haven’t looked, but have you read any Vonnegut?

        • bluchickenninja

          Yeah some of Dahl’s stuff can be quite dark. Pig is probably one of the darkest. Lots of unfortunate circumstances where many people die. But I found it hilarious as a kid.

          I only did physics in my first 2 years of high school. But I got good grades in it. I should probably have done that instead of chemistry but oh well. Can’t change now.

          I have read some Vonnegut. Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse 5. I’ve been wanting to read more of his work.

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