Review: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

I’ve had this novel forever and although my friends kept going on about how marvellous it was, I was still hesitant. Because I don’t read many blurbs (or reviews) for novels I was left thinking that this would be a story about a talking rat. Well, all I will say is it’s not! I also had no idea it was first written as a short story in 1959 and expanded on and published in the mid 1960’s. I thought it was written in the early 2000’s. Nor did I know anything about a movie (but I am not a telly type person). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not dated at all…except perhaps some terminology. I never considered me a real stickler for PC terms, but by golly, I sure felt like some Pollyanna type after reading this and being offended time and time again at times in this book when people referred to mentally challenged individuals.

I really loved this book. However, I find it difficult to find it inspirational and inspiring as many others did. I wonder if that is a flaw in me or if I am just stuck with being a pessimist and a realist.

AAMOF, not only was I not inspired I was a bit pissed off that people really couldn’t see Charlie’s worth until he became more intelligent and then started to decline in intelligence.

Sometimes I don’t mind feeling conflicted over books. On the contrary, I love books that challenge me and leave me struggling to come to terms with my feelings. This one however really bothered me. It wasn’t the story, it was society in general. It was for the Charlie’s of the world that never gain that intelligence and never realise how many of the world look at them. How worth is often weighed by that intelligence. How people are often afraid of people that are mental challenged. And the whole PC of all of it. I wonder if a book like this could even be written today just in case it upsets someone’s sensibilities.

I’m angry for Charlie. More angry than he ever was. I’m angry at so many characters in the novel. I’m angry at those that can only find amusement at other’s expense. At people that tear other’s down in order to only look out for their own interests.

I’m angry at a society that still, today, in many ways, refuses to find a place 0f acceptance for all people, regardless of where they fall in the intelligence spectrum.

Yea…I’m really conflicted. Charlie was a good person. Even before the “new and improved” Charlie showed up at the scene. That acceptance I speak of could have made a world of difference in his life before his operation. Instead the book ends with him felling even less worth as a person than he did at the beginning, which was too damned low to start with. I loved the book, but I find it near impossible to take away just good from this story. Or be inspired by it…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

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Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

2163164Not only did I love the writing style of Mohsin Hamid, I absolutely loved this story. Yes, I even loved the ending that I just KNOW many people will absolutely abhor.

I won’t do a long review on this book. I wouldn’t want my political opinions to effect how you go into reading this book. I wouldn’t want them to effect how you feel about this book.

I will only say, with all the distrust and bias towards Muslims this day and age post 911, people seem to forget that they are, in fact, individuals. They are not an idea, a symbol, or some inanimate objects. I think that society in general has taken them as just that. Inanimate objects or like a small child that has no idea what others are saying right in front of them.

That, no matter what your views are, is heartbreaking. It is also widening the chasm of ignorance that is the base root of so many problems.

The ending of this novel just confirms this.

So read it…and then tell me….what do you believe really happened at the end? What facts do you have to support that belief?

Brilliant book….

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid