Samstag, November 03, 2007

Flowers for Algernon

This is a very nice book, and it's not really science fiction, it's more a psychological adventure. It' about a mentally retarded guy who gets an operation and becomes very smart. The book goes very deep into the thinking and the feeling of the main character, in that he now sees how he used to misinterpret social behaviour, and it really hurts, for the main character and for the reader. Also, being smart, has disadvantages, and at certain points in the book, the reader starts to wonder: when was Charlie Gordon - the main character - more happy? When he was smart or when he wasn't? The book also makes the reader reflect upon your own behaviour towards the handicapped: do you make fun of them, do you find them funny, do you learn them tricks, do you embarrass them for your own pleasure, ... or do you see them as fully developed persons? In this respect, this is actually a very educational book in that it can be the basis for group discussions in schools, but then again, it's classified as science fiction, and I do not know schools where children are stimulated to read SF. I just hope that one teacher somewhere puts this book down on the reading list for his students. Here are some quotations out of the book:

"How foolish I was ever to have thought that professors were intellectual giants. They're people - and afraid the rest of the world will find out."

"Language is sometimes a barrier instead of a pathway."

About television: "Why am I always looking at life through a window?"

Daniel Keyes