This book review was written by Eugene Kernes
“I asked can I feed him because I felt bad to beat him and I wanted to be nice and make frends. Burt said no Algernon is a very speshul mouse with an operashun like mine. He was the first of all the animals to stay smart so long and he said that Algernon is so smart he has to solve a problem with a lock that changes every time he goes in to eat so he has to lern something new to get his food. That made me sad because if he coudnt learn he woudnt be able to eat and he would be hungry. | I dont think its right to make you pass a test to eat. How would Burt like to have to pass a test every time he wants to eat. I think Ill be frends with Algeron.” – Daniel Keyes, Page 24
“It had been all right as long they could laugh at me and appear clever at my expense, but now they were feeling inferior to the moron. I began to see that by my astonishing growth I had made them shrink and emphasized their inadequacies. I had betrayed them, and they hated me for it.” – Daniel Keyes, Page 68
“Strauss again brought up my need to speak and write simply and directly so that people will understand me. He reminds me that language is sometimes a barrier instead of a pathway. Ironic to find myself on the other side on the intellectual fence.” – Daniel Keyes, Page 72
Is This An Overview?
Charlie Gordon is intellectually disabled. Before and after having an operation that can increase Charlie’s intelligence, Charlie is asked to write down progress reports for research purposes. They act like diary entries. It is through these progress reports that the book is written. Before the operation, the researchers perform various tests on Charlie’s intelligence. Some of the tests are a competition with the mouse Algernon, to complete a maze. Charlie kept losing to the mouse. The mouse had the intelligence operation that they were going to perform on Charlie.
When they do perform the operation on Charlie, the gradual
progress frustrations Charlie, but eventually Charlie becomes much
smarter. Even Charlie’s memory
improves. With the new found
intelligence, Charlie became an expert in many intellectual fields and
languages. When Charlie was
intellectually disabled, Charlie had friends, but the friends had fun at
Charlie’s expense. When Charlie became
an intellectual, Charlie made others feel inferior and therefore lost friends. Charlie’s intelligence became so vast, that
Charlie thought the researchers were inadequate compared to Charlie, that they
were frauds. Charlie’s intelligence may
have drastically increased, but not Charlie’s emotional intelligence. Problems for Charlie did not disappear after
having the intelligence operation. The
problems just became different.
As this book is written from progress reports by Charlie, some of the progress reports can be difficult to read. As Charlie’s intelligence improves, so does the writing. This makes the story very consistent. Giving the reader an immersive experience.
This book has psychological foundations, but psychology has
advanced. Some of the ideas presented in
the book might have been popular during the era, but have been proven
wrong. Terminology has also gone through
changes. Some of the terminology was
appropriate during the era, but are no longer considered appropriate.