What: The story is told by Charlie Gordon and involves intelligence experiments being done on both Gordon and the title character Algernon, who is a white mouse.
Who: Anyone who wants to be decently well read in science fiction should read this book. It’s a classic, and one referenced and discussed elsewhere. One of my favorite stories by Susan Palwick, the title story in The Fate of Mice, is told from Algernon’s POV.
Why: Read it because you will want to know Charlie, to hear him tell his story, and to see a master use the device of an unreliable narrator in a way that takes your heart and breaks it over the book’s knee. Read it to discover a story that has survived the test of time and will, I strongly believe, continue to do so.
When: Read this when you’re thinking about things like how a character gets the reader on their side, as well as how what a character doesn’t say is sometimes as telling as what they do. Read this when you are ready to sit down and read it in one full sitting, preferably, which is doable for faster readers since it’s a slender book.
Where and how: Read it where you won’t mind weeping; public spaces (like airplanes) are unsuitable because you will have to have a heart as hard as winter to not tear up some. This is, in fact, one of the best examples of a fabulous tearjerker of a story that I know.