What is intelligence, and what is idiocy? How does each define one’s existence? Is knowledge a free enterprise up for grabs, or does it come with a dear price?
Daniel Keyes’ FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON is an epistolary novel that leaves these questions after the final pages have turned. It is a staggering thesis about man’s continuing search for wisdom and intimacy, where knowledge is hell and ignorance is bliss.
Keyes wrote this in 1958 in short story form and was an overnight sensation in 1959, the year it was initially published. It won the HUGO AWARD for BEST SHORT STORY the following year. Inspired by the story and the want to elaborate more on Charlie’s (narrator/main character) journey, the author expanded the narrative into a novel and was published in 1966. Again, Charlie’s story won the much coveted NEBULA AWARD for BEST NOVEL that same year.
I found myself in a carwash pouring tears as I turned the last page. I even continued on sobbing after I finally closed the book. This novel proves that I still have a heart.
Our Shakes-PEERs group will be discussing this award-winning and heartbreaking novel this month. Lei will be moderating. I’m looking forward to my co-members’ reactions and views on Keyes’ 1960 masterpiece.
Definitely, now my No. 1 Best Read for 2011. Move over Madeline Meyer!
PS. Thank you Peter (again) for recommending this. Love na talaga kita!!!