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

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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.

heart-it-races-ep

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.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #14-Nikki by Logic

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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Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, known by his stage name Logic, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer.

The first time I heard this song I assumed what you would. This is about a girl who stole this guy’s heart and how he’s ruined because of it. And in a sense, I’m right but I’m also wrong. Logic uses a unique and creative way to talk about his problems and struggles and I seriously respect him for it. But what makes him amazing is the way he explains the song and what it truly means. Seriously, listen to his explanation because it like opens your mind and shit.

Favourite part:

Goddamn, took me as young man
Everyday I wonder who I am, who will I be, where will I go
What will they write upon my grave?
A free man born as a king, who died as a slave
But everything he gave her was for nothing though
Oh no I can’t fade that shit I gotta let you go
You got me tripping like a flight to Vegas
All this shit you got me doing man it’s outrageous

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #11-The Distance by Cake

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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Cake is an American alternative rock band from Sacramento, California.

All alone (All alone!!!) Cake is one of the best bands ever. Known for their talking rather than singing vocals and heavy trumpet pieces, what’s not to like? The song really makes you want to ‘go the distance’ for whatever it may be.

Favourite part:

The fans get up and they get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
In her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
He’s going the distance.

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Song of the Week (Revamped) #3-Bad Day by Darwin Deez

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.

Darwin Deez is an American indie band from New York City signed to music label Lucky Number.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t love the first time I heard Bad Day. But it has been since the second. ‘Cuz everyday ought to be a bad day for you’ this song is spiteful, a true ‘fuck you’ song but with a happier beat. And wishing that the last page of their 800 paged novel went missing is my ultimate ‘fuck yourself’.

My Favourite part:

I hope that the last page of your 800 paged novel is missing. […]

Maybe you should wonder why your apartment is always so empty

I hope you get locked out of that apartment and have to call Jenny
Ohhhh!

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Book Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog#1) by Anne Blankman

17668473Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog#1) by Anne Blankman

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Genre: Historical Fiction and Young Adult

Release Date: April 22, 2014

Pages: 401 (Hardcover)

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In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Balzer + Bray for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

It’s extremely important for everyone to understand our pasts so that we can hopefully never repeat them again or at least to the same extent. Prisoner of Night and Fog is a great novel in the sense that it’s a retelling of most of World War two and the build-up towards it. This series is pretty much going to be the WW2 part of any history class (hopefully) and I actually enjoyed it a lot. Not only did I like the fictional, but the non fictional ones as well. I’ve never been a fan of historical fiction and much less of anything non fiction yet I couldn’t put this book down.

Although it takes a lot of work working with non fictional characters, Blankman does a great job. However,  in the beginning with the Jew that her brother wanted to beat up. The whole incident felt really forced to get the story going. Another thing that felt forced is the second half of the novel where the romance is so clichéd and contrived that I wanted to puke. Gretchen went from this badass girl who was uncertain about her family and willing to get answers to this girl who needed her ‘man’ almost all the time. The mystery aspect of the novel is actually really boring, there’s a lot of planning and searching but not enough of anything else until the end of the story.

Prisoner of Night and Fog is still an excellent book. The relationship between Gretchen and Hitler is very well done and shows the decline of their trust in one another. Moreover, Blankman did a lot of research for the story and it really shows. Small details that most people overlook play big roles in the not only this story but the actual war. Despite disliking Gretchen during the last quarter of the story, I really liked her. She was strong and brave, using her clever wit to get past the people who stand in her way.

Overall, I do recommend this book to everyone. It’s historical fiction yes, but it’s also about one of the worst cases of genocide the world has ever seen. It’s not all that gory but it’s intense and I have a lot of faith in this author to get really in-depth with the whole series.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: The Accidental Highwayman by Ben tripp

20519011The Accidental Highwayman by Ben tripp

Publisher: Tor Teen

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date:October 18, 2014

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

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 In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher,Tor Teen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Growing up as a kid, I would watch some classics with my sisters. It was our bonding time and I loved it. The fact that The Accidental Highwayman is compared to The Princess Bride grabbed my attention at once! I love that movie! And in a few ways, this novel is like that movie (sorry guys! Haven’t read the book!). There’s a ton of action, helping the story stay interesting and on point with the potential of never-ending danger.  The different types of mythical creatures that Kit and his friends face are all creative and unique.

Despite how fun this novel is, The Accidental Highwayman has a lot of info-dumping that only drags out the story. I found myself skipping a bunch paragraphs because they went on and on and on about random crap. Kit, the protagonist is adorable, however, he sounded more like a ten-year old boy than a sixteen year old one.

Still, Kit and Morgana’s relationship is beyond adorable. It’s a roller coaster of emotion, them constantly getting angry with the other yet trying to move forward. I felt for them and their little crushes! In addition, the little notes in the margins are great and makes the story feel realistic because I don’t know phrases and words used in the 19th century and getting summaries on them helped me understand. The illustrations are beautifully done. Tripp knows how to artfully draw readers in with his visuals. I kept skipping the pages, looking around for the pictures, the full ones that have so much detail and so much emotion, and then I would gawk at them all before returning to the page I was on.

The Accidental Highwayman isn’t a bad book. It does have a few similarities to The Princess Bride with the action, the friends and foes and I loved it. Still, it does feel a bit odd with the abundance of information and the characters feeling too young and things working out just…too well in some cases. I recommend this story to anyone looking for something sweet and fun, with great illustrations, an old yet well described setting and love when the good guy wins! (Sort of). I’m so tempted to go watch every classic movie with villains in it now…hhmmm.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds