The Next Best Book Club discussion

132 views
Group Read Discussions > Flowers For Algernon - Spoilers

Comments Showing 1-35 of 35 (35 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10095 comments Mod
Go ahead. Ruin the ending. We dont care!


message 2: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 94 comments great movie. better book. not a dry eye in the house.


message 3: by Who? (new)

Who? | 16 comments Ya it was a good movie and book, although i was upset how Charlie had attacked, attempted raip, Miss kininan (idk how to spell her name)and then she came back to him! And they had uh intercourse, i mean "wrestled" naked in a sleeping bag, in the park uh it was awkward for my 8th grade class haha i was alarmed that my Teacher was able to play that in class, but it was PG. Oh this was the 1968 version


message 4: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Chapman | 3 comments Has anyone seen the newer movie version? And in the back of my book it said there was a television show at some point...what was the name?


message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol Does anyone see the correlation between stem cell research and Charley's treatments? Does any one know when research was done for stem cell transplants?


message 6: by Les (last edited Apr 05, 2010 04:43PM) (new)

Les Gehman As I mentioned in the other thread, I read the short story/novella a long time ago. In this reading of the book, it struck me how much of an ass Charlie was while he was a genius. Was that due to the treatment, or was it part of Charlie all the time, and just came out with the higher I.Q? I was really surprised by how much happier Charlie was when he was retarded. Is that a case of what we don't know won't hurt us? Or suggesting that the more we know, the more we can worry about?


message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol I think happiness was more of being like a child . When we are children we have few anxieties, as we mature we take on more of the world. We have a growing process of years Charley had months. Charley was thrown into it so fast he had nothing to draw from. He had not developed life skills that every child developes as it ages. So he acted like an ass. It did not detract from the character for me. I just thought it was a growing up process for him like all adolescence. I found the medical research more intriguing , and the moral responsibilities that went along with it.

It would certainly be interesting to see if something like that could be done and how would we be able to assist the recipient so they do not become unable to exist in the every day world.


message 8: by Les (new)

Les Gehman Thanks Carol! That's a great way of looking at it. I never thought of genius Charlie as a child, but you are right. For such a "simple" book, there really is a lot to ponder.


message 9: by Bhumi (new)

Bhumi | 524 comments This book had so many aspects to it. And at many times it was very sad to read.


message 10: by Carol (last edited Apr 05, 2010 10:58PM) (new)

Carol http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell

This is the scientific article from wikipedia.

Stem cell research had it's beginnings in the early sixties.

Even though this book is sad in some aspects, maybe it was paving the way for the mass populace to accept the different ways stem cells could be used. I realize many people are opposed to stem cells,that is your right. I only bring this up ,because I feel it has a relationship with this book.


message 11: by Katelin (new)

Katelin | 3 comments Tabitha wrote: "Has anyone seen the newer movie version? And in the back of my book it said there was a television show at some point...what was the name?"

There was a television show in 2000 named Flowers for Algernon.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210044/

There are also rumors that Will Smith is working on a remake of the movie starring himself as Charlie.


message 12: by Elena (new)

Elena Les wrote: "As I mentioned in the other thread, I read the short story/novella a long time ago. In this reading of the book, it struck me how much of an ass Charlie was while he was a genius. Was that due to..."

I think Charlie being as ass was not specifically due to the treatment, or the way he really was. It is explained at some point in the book that his emotional development was not part of the experiment, just the IQ. That was in part the reason for the theraphy with the professor, to deal with the psychological turmoil. It is pretty much like Carol's comparison to a child's life skills.

What surprised me most was Charlie's lack of past memories. Does mentally challenged people really have no memories of the past? Maybe they just don't have the capacity to look back? I never thought about it and it is what has stayed with me the most.


message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol Hmmmmmmmmmmm I think they have memories,but they are selective like all childish memories. I have a friend who has a mentally challenged daughter and she remembers things totally different, but then we all do.. Our memories are our own experiences and how we have reacted to them. Memories are as unique as we are.


message 14: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (newtomato) Part of having long-term memories is that the rumination on those memories makes those memories stronger.

I wonder if mentally-handicapped Charlie just didn't think about the past, so those memories never took the prominence they would in other people? That constellation of memories effects every decision we make, the way we react even to small stuff.

Makes me think of an essay I read last year by a woman whose husband has severe memory loss and how devastating that is.


message 15: by Erika (new)

Erika (erikareading) Les wrote: "As I mentioned in the other thread, I read the short story/novella a long time ago. In this reading of the book, it struck me how much of an ass Charlie was while he was a genius. Was that due to..."

Les, I think another factor was that before Charlie got smart he really looked up to everyone around him. Finding out his heroes weren't perfect I think made him kind of bitter. But that's another part of growing up too, right? Whether we make our parents our heroes or celebrities or whoever, when we find out they don't know everything and they make mistakes too it's kind of a shock and we have to find a way to deal with it somehow.


message 16: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments Tabitha wrote: "Has anyone seen the newer movie version? And in the back of my book it said there was a television show at some point...what was the name?"


I have it on my Netflix. It is with Matt Modine.


message 17: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments Katelin wrote: "Tabitha wrote: "Has anyone seen the newer movie version? And in the back of my book it said there was a television show at some point...what was the name?"

There was a television show in 2000 nam..."



Will Smith is pretty good at whatever he does. I would love to see him play someone who myay be "slow"


message 18: by Les (new)

Les Gehman Erika, I think you're correct that Charlie was very disappointed when he found out that people he looked up to weren't perfect. In particular, his discussions with scholars stuck out when he discovered how narrow and shallow their knowledge actually was. I think this combined with his child-like emotional state definitely contributed to the way he acted.


message 19: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments No one wants to see the world as it really is! I would rather be the lesser!


message 20: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 714 comments Re: the idea of memories-I wonder if it's not that Charlie didn't have many memories but maybe that since he didn't fully understand them, they didn't really matter-they were kind of a non-issue. Once he started to understand more things his memories suddenly became important-he had a context for them. I can remember this happening to me growing up-I'd learn something new and suddenly get something that had happened in the past. It's not like I had been actively thinking about that past event but once I had a context in which to place the old event it suddenly came back to me-the new information triggered the old memory. Maybe that's what it was like for Charlie.

I agree with the point that Charlie had everyone up on pedestals more or less and when he realized no one was as nice or as smart or whatever as he once thought, he was pissed-he felt duped. Plus I think it's got to be awfully hard to suddenly realize you were being made fun of for year by people you thought were your friends.

Like many of you have said, he was suddenly given intelligence without the emotional maturity to handle it all. It was like they strapped a jet engine on his tricycle and set him off on the road-of course he crashed.


message 21: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (mamallama) | 130 comments Okay. I was pleasantly surprised by the book and felt a little behind the times as everyone I know (including my 16 year old son) had already read the book. I haven't seen the movie. I agree that Charlie turned out to be such a jerk when he was smart. He had no emotional maturity because he had so much of a sense of shame when he was living at home. His emotional world when he mentally deficient was so screwed up. His mother was so neurotic and I wanted to reach into the book and smack her! Anyway, I'm glad I read it and now I'll have to see about the movie.


message 22: by Kerri (new)

Kerri So many things to think about with this book.........
In regards to the parents, the mother was obviously very unlikeable and extremely undesireable as a mother. The person I was most disappointed in was the father. He seemed to have the right emotions and sound judgement when it came to Charlie even when he took him away from their house (at that point, Charlie just needed to get away from his mother for his own safety), but it really bothered me that after he (the father) was separated from the mother and had his own business up and running, why he didn't go and get Charlie. He never even checked on him after all those years??? He appeared to be pretty solid and well-balanced which made it all the more disappointing that he didn't play a bigger role in Charlie's life.


message 23: by Jamaie (new)

Jamaie | 66 comments I'm about to the end of this one. I know I must of read this book in high school or something. I had completely forgotten the story. I love the book and can't wait to see how it ends. I'm glad I've picked it up again.


message 24: by Carol (new)

Carol Kerri wrote: "So many things to think about with this book.........
In regards to the parents, the mother was obviously very unlikeable and extremely undesireable as a mother. The person I was most disappointe..."


Not to be unfair to fathers, but many dads when they were no longer in the house, they forgot about their children especially before fathers took a more active role in raising their children.


message 25: by Susan (NY) (last edited Apr 24, 2010 04:49PM) (new)

Susan (NY) | 35 comments Just finished. I read this book years ago in high school. It was a great reread. It was sad that he didn't have the time to spend with his sister to make up for the past.


message 26: by Jamaie (new)

Jamaie | 66 comments Ok..I finished it. Wow..5 stars..loved it!~ The last few pages had me crying my eyes out.


Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader) (listobsessed) | 317 comments I finished this a while ago, and have been following the discussion, but I haven't known what to write. Except, as Jamaie says, wow... This has been sitting on my tbr for a while now, so I was really excited when it came up for the group read. It's the kind of book that should provoke a lot of discussion, but I'm pulling a blank at this stage beyond "It was amazing"

:)


message 28: by Melinda (new)

Melinda Flaugher I loved the book. Surprised that we never read the story in highschool. The book has some many universal truths. Glad that Charlie decided to go away at the end.


message 29: by Felina (new)

Felina Joanie wrote: "Re: the idea of memories-I wonder if it's not that Charlie didn't have many memories but maybe that since he didn't fully understand them, they didn't really matter-they were kind of a non-issue. ..."

I agree. I remember as a child loving the movie Look Whose Talking and slowly having revelations about scenes from that movie. Like where Kristie Alley(sp?) tells her mom she was artifically inseminated and her mother says thats only something ugly women and lesbians do. When I found out what lesbians were that suddenly made sense to me. I didn't even know I had a memory of that scene until I found out what a lesbian was and it came rushing back. For Charlie I would think as he came to understand 'new truths' he would be able to make associations with memories from his past.


message 30: by Felina (new)

Felina Kerri wrote: "So many things to think about with this book.........
In regards to the parents, the mother was obviously very unlikeable and extremely undesireable as a mother. The person I was most disappointe..."


I think the way Charlie's father treated him is pretty typical behavior for people with children who have disabilities. Its alot easier to abandon them instead of dealing with the challenges. I bet he didn't intend to leave completely but he just started seeing him less and less and then just never came back. Its unfortunate.


message 31: by Heather (new)

Heather Very moving and thought provoking. Loved it! I felt like I was discovering right along with Charlie.


message 32: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) I really loved this book when I read it a few years back. And my heart broke for Charlie when he saw that Algernon was reverting back to his former self and he knew he would be too. That it was just a matter of time. :(


message 33: by Alan (new)

Alan (coachmt) | 9 comments I was very moved by this book when I read it in high school, many years ago. There was a movie called Phenomenon a few years back with John Travolta with a parallel idea — slow/normal person who becomes super intelligent. Anyone see that? I really enjoyed that movie too. Lots of good issues to think about.


message 34: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 714 comments I loved Phenomenon and had some similar thoughts when I was re-reading Flowers for Algernon-when Charlie talks about not being able to sleep, studying languages, reading everything he can etc. Of course John Travolta's character (George Malley?) is more of just a simple guy-not too bright but certainly not intellectually disabled but I can see the similarities too.


message 35: by Shae (new)

Shae | 23 comments Loved the book, but didn't know it was a movie. Definetly gonna add it to my must see pile. Thanks for the info!


back to top