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The Short Life

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Author: Francis Donovan
Published: 1955
Language: English
Wordcount: 21,423 / 70 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 66.7
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,117
Added to site: 2007.12.21
mnybks.net#: 19444

The Alien had to choose--and fast--a living entity to act through. He chose ... but he made one error....

Show Excerpt

where at all. It'll open at an unanswered question. At the age of roughly three and one-half, a congenital idiot suddenly displays flashes of alert intelligence. For forty-two months that child was content to sit on his fanny and vegetate. Never crawled, never spoke, never played, seldom even focused his eyes. Then one day his mother sees him study some alphabet blocks with every appearance of curiosity. Awareness! For the first time!

"Later, he suddenly reaches out his hand and piles the blocks in a neat stack. Purposeful activity and perfect muscular control! No trial-and-error, no baby hesitation with hand poised--just a sudden assured, controlled action. Mama leaps for joy, junior relapses into idiocy, and no one--including me--really believes mama when she says it happened. This sort of thing goes on for several months--brief, erratic flashes of extraordinary intelligence, considering the subject. Then, a child who has never spoken a single word says clearly and politely, 'I want that one, Helen,'

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 1 reviews: *****
2014.07.16
Paulo Respighi
*****

A poignant story of a little boy, born a congenital idiot, who suddenly begins talking at three years old and displays occasional signs of genius. The ending is a little talky, but shows great insight and compassion. The characters have depth and reality. It's kind of a Flowers for Algernon with aliens.
Highly recommended.


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