Book Review: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flower for Algernon by Daniel Keyes


Publisher: Mariner Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: 1966

Pages: 311

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With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. 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 of paramount importance–until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

 

The way I feel about this book is simple. It is that strange feeling as every hair on your body stands on end as you relive some strange childhood memory you’ve tucked away. It is the tears the steadily fall down your cheeks and you realize, yes, Charlie, I have been there. I have seen and felt what you have seen and felt. And the heartbreak as you realize that life is just one huge circle, waiting to turn.

As Charlie gets wiser, he is able to identify the emotions as they come to him. However, as a reader I wish I could have been able to experience more of them. Charlie is very closed off when it comes to certain emotions and focuses and others such as anger and frustration. It would have been nice to see more of his emotions towards Alice and his family.

Nonetheless, this is a lovely novel. The way in which Charlie’s memories come to him with such clarity and realization is beautiful. The way Keyes writes seamlessly brings his story to life, switching from one Charlie to the next. The message of the story is that there is always room for improvement, that no one is ever perfect which might be a cliche, but coming from Charlie and his difficulties, is so heartwarming and special. Keyes also spends quite sometime on Charlie’s relationship with his mother, how they have interacted with each other before and after his sister. How she reacted to him being back and a completely different person. Although I wish this part had more emotion, the back story, the anxiety, and the memories…It’s all there. It’s well done and quite satisfying once they meet again.

So many times, Charlie is described as ‘something else’, as something that is not human, that was created when in reality he wasn’t. A doctor did not create him and this realization to Charlie, to understand the meaning of these words and to fight against them, is the most moving part of the novel. It shows how he has used his wisdom to understand that nothing was wrong with the old Charlie, he was just as capable as he is now and I love this book for that.

4. 5 Bad-Ass Clouds

Song of the Week (Revamped) #19-Girls your Age by Transviolet

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Girls Your Age took a very, very, very, long time for me to even like. It has a Lana Del Rey feel to it and is just…your usual pop song. But it does have some depth once you really open up to it. It’s quite poppy and sultry,

Favourite part:

Bad boy talking fast, talking dirty
He tells me that I’m hot so I tell him that I love him
And he says, “Girls your age
Never mean what they say”

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

The Fixes by Owen Mattews

The Fixes by Owen Mattews

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: August 30, 2016

Pages: 528 (Hardcover)

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Five…

Eric Connelly is about to combust.

Four…

His senator father is forcing him to spend the entire summer working a mind-numbing law firm internship. He won’t stop lecturing him about the importance of upholding “the Connelly name.” He doesn’t know the definition of “blowing off steam.” But he’s about to find out. Because Eric is ready to blow.

Three…

Then Eric meets Jordan Grant. Super-rich, semi-famous Jordan Grant. The guy of Eric’s (secret) dreams. Jordan likes Eric. And, well, Eric likes that.

Two…

Jordan comes with a group of friends—the Suicide Pack, they call themselves—and they’re sick of the shallow hypocrisy of their exclusive beachside town. So they cook up some simple “fixes” to right the wrongs that the wealthy elite have committed. But as the fixes escalate, some members of the pack start to panic. Intoxicated by Jordan’s attention, Eric stays calm. Until Jordan starts to build the bombs.

One…

The question is not whether the bombs will go off—but who will be left standing when everything goes up in flames.

The Fixes is an interesting novel and I must admit I had a lot of fun reading it. There’s this loose stream of connectivity between the book and the narrator and I didn’t mind being pulled out of the story every other chapter or every other line because the remarks were just too funny and it would have been even better I swear if there just weren’t so many fucking holes. Like what’s up with Jordan’s family? Is he a psycho like his dad? Does his dad know how fucked he is? I sometimes hate how much I critically think but everything has to connect. There are just too many holes.

So I get that Haley and Paige were friends before the pack but why? They seem completely different especially with their group of friends and moreover, why would they want to be? In the whole book they barely speak to each other about anything. It makes me wonder that they’re together just because they’re girls. I also had an issue with the suspense. Maybe it was planned out this way but the deliverance is not very smooth as it starts and stops every few pages and the climax is literally a shit show. I also want to know and fully understand the thought process that is Jordan. How did he get everyone on his side? And so quickly? I want to understand how Eric got this way and how he convinced everyone to go through with things I want to understand the manipulation behind it all.

The reasons why I enjoyed this novel is because it is good. It does allow readers to fall into the story with its clever lines and smooth transitions. This is so with the transition of Eric going from E to Eric. The writing flows in such a calm way. The ending is cool because I hate cop-outs and I’m glad this one did not have that. Despite having many holes, it does resolve things. The character of Paige and how she comes back into Eric’s life, albeit weird, shows that they really were friends.

While reading The Fixes it seemed like I was asking one thing over and over again: why?

What’s even worse is that just about nothing is ever really answered. I’m trying really hard to be a better reviewer so I’m not going to completely bash Matthews for making Eric such a puppy. Some people just feel more than others but still. Come on, why. But I still really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to anyone. Yes, it is really long but the chapters are pretty short and sweet.

3 Mediocre Clouds

Song of the Week (Revamped) #18-Alone/ With You by Daughter

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Daughter are an indie folk band from England. Fronted by North London native Elena Tonra, they were formed in 2010 after the addition of Swiss-born guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella from France.

Daughter has recently changed up their tune. Although they still have their usual delicately haunting vocals, and depressing yet heartfelt lyrics, they added a poppy tune. Think….light electronic music. But still, the song is really good. Daughter will always have a spot in my heart no matter what.

Favourite part:

I hate sleeping alone
Terrified with the lights out
I hate living alone
Talking to myself is boring conversation
Me and I are not friends
She is only an acquaintance
I hate dreaming of being alone
Cause you are never there
Just a shadowy figure with a blank face
Kicking me out of his place
I hate walking alone
I should get a dog or something

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #17-New Year’s Eve by Mal Blum

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Mal Blum writes often self-referential, first-person narratives, sets them to music containing elements from anti-folk, punk or folk genres and tours nationally, usually alone in a little car, but sometimes with a band or another songwriter for company.

With a song that’s so sad yet so relatable it’s crazy that I haven’t heard of this girl before. The song, albeit whiny really gets to you. Why? because her lyrics and the images they create are extremely vivid and smooth that you feel like the one watching the events unfold. It’s a long song but every time it comes on, I don’t have the heart to stop it when I reach my lectures. I just let it play until the crying is over.

Favourite part:

We’re not friends

Friends don’t do the things we did

And the ones you’ve done since then makes think we’ve never been

When is this night gonna end?

Are you lying in her bed?

All these questions hit my head

Hey where’s the whiskey at again

You were discombobulated

When you showed up at my door

Leaving glitter on my floor

But I don’t like you anymore

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #16-The bells by Lowell

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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If you don’t know this girl or this song then it’s official. You live under a rock. It’s been almost 9 months since I’ve heard it before these past 2 weeks and I clearly remember why it quickly became a favourite for me. With such a chill beat and cute yet psycho girl vibe, the creepy lyrics just reminds me of a pop grunge era. It’s sweet and strange and hella repetitive which I hate but sounds right in The Bells.

Favourite part:

Hey! Where’d the beat go?
Beat go
Where’d the beat go?
Beat go
Where’d the beat go?

The bells, the bells, the bells, the bells, and
The bounce, the bounce, the bounce, the bounce,
And the bells, the bells, the bells, the bells, and the beat

Beat go

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #15-Heart it Races by Dr. Dog

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Dr. Dog is an American rock band from West Grove, Pennsylvania, United States. Its lineup consists of Toby Leaman, Scott McMicken, Frank McElroy, Zach Miller, and Eric Slick.

I won’t lie. The first I heard Heart it Races, I thought it was just  a boring old song. And in a sense, it really is. Sure, you put it on and it’s sweet, it’s light, whatever. But then it creeps up on you (it really does) during the weirdest times. For me, it’s whenever I’m washing dishes or like, I don’t know, making a sandwich. And it just stays there, being chill. Like a stoner who just wants to repeat the same thing over and over again until everyone else is saying it as well. boom da da da da da da boom dat dat dat da da

Favourite part:

And we’re slow to acknowledge the knots in our laces
Heart it races

And we go back to where we moved out to the places
Heart it races

I sold it to a man and threw him out that window
He went boom da da da da da da boom dat dat dat da da
Made his wife a widow

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.