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Morningside Heights


A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-...
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Did anyone connect the novel Flowers for Algernon with Arlo and his experimental drug?

Created: 09/26/21

Replies: 7

Posted Sep. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannej

Join Date: 09/02/21

Posts: 2

Did anyone connect the novel Flowers for Algernon with Arlo and his experimental drug?

Flowers for Algernon was made into the movie Charly, and Cliff Robertson won an Academy Award for the role in 1968, a long time ago when "mental retardation" described Charlie and his IQ of 68. Algernon is an average white lab mouse who is given an experimental drug that increases his intelligence threefold. Charlie is also given the drug but like Algernon, Charlie's intelligence is temporary.

In Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin, Spence shows remarkable memory improvement after taking Arlo's experimental drug, but sadly his improvement is short-lived. If Henkin deliberately introduced this connection between the two stories I say "well-done' because by doing so he, in my opinion, not only shines a light on the right/wrong use of experimental drugs on patients but the focal point on Arlo with his painful low self-esteem caused by his learning difficulty, due to dyslexia, becomes more important to the story.


Posted Sep. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliep

Join Date: 04/07/12

Posts: 180

RE: Did anyone connect the novel Flowers...

Wow, I can’t say that I would ever have connected the two. I do remember Flowers for Algernon, both the book and the movie, but there have been so many new drugs and drug trials over the years that I don’t see a lot of similarity to that particular book.


Posted Sep. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 215

RE: Did anyone connect the novel Flowers...

Not really because in Flowers for Algernon, it was a surgical procedure that had an initial beneficial effect on the IQ and over time it diminished back to the original level.
this something very different from what happens in this book. In this book it was a medication that had side effects which is not that uncommon.


Posted Sep. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
arlenei

Join Date: 08/12/21

Posts: 20

RE: Did anyone connect the novel Flowers...

No I never connected the two books. Looking back, you can say both books have traces of being similar but it is not an overt connection.


Posted Oct. 02, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 114

RE: Did anyone connect the novel Flowers...

I didn't connect the two but it has been years since I read Flowers for Algernon or saw the movie. It seemed that part of the story was a way for Arlo to do something for his dad, but even that backfired. Spence's illness after taking the drug also brought to light that there was a serious side effect, which led to the trial being discontinued. In the end Arlo was able to make connections to get his father into the trial, but all of Arlo's money and success really didn't make a difference for Spence.


Posted Oct. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickys

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 55

RE: Did anyone connect the novel Flowers...

Yes I did and thought about the raising of hopes for something untried and the eventual failure and subsequent disappointment. It has been years since I read the book and saw the play so it was more of a feeling than details that lined up the same.


Posted Oct. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannev

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 41

RE: Did anyone connect the novel Flowers...

No I didn't - was there a connection? I didn't see it at all. What does the author say??


Posted Oct. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 136

RE: Did anyone connect the novel Flowers...

That is an interesting question. Until I read the question, I did not make any connections between Arlo and Flowers for Algernon. Perhaps one reason for that is having read Flowers for Algernon so long ago!


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