Flowers for Algernon is unlike any book I have ever had the pleasure to read. When you first start reading the text looks like a foreign language, but if you are willing to put in the effort I can promise you it will be worth it. Charlie has a remarkably low IQ and is entered into a trial medical study to increase his IQ. He and a mouse (named Algernon) are both subjected to the study and their intelligence grows remarkably. Charlie has to adapt to a growing intelligence and that process is remarkable for the reader.
The reader is given a unique perspective of this growing intelligence because of the way Daniel Keyes writes Flowers for Algernon. The story is written as Charlie’s journal which includes misspelled words and horrific grammar but as Charlie’s IQ increases so does the quality of his writing. As the story grows, you find yourself understanding Charlie, relating to Charlie and maybe even thinking like Charlie. You watch as his growing understanding makes him realize truths about friendship, experience love, and question the value of knowledge.
Flowers for Algernon is a uniquely moving piece and it will cause you to have a book hangover. You will need a few days to process and truly comprehend the complexity of the novel. I truly recommend this book as it gives you a unique perspective into the human mind. I read Flowers for Algernon and then The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the two books pair perfectly together and I recommend that you read them in close proximity.
I also recommend that you sip Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea sweetened with honey. The tea is smooth, warm, slightly flowery, and deeply comforting which is necessary when reading Flowers for Algernon. This novel explores the human condition in a way that is unsettling and the Sleepytime tea provides a safety net of comfort. Challenge yourself with this novel and you will not regret it even though you will probably shed a few tears (I know I did).