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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon (1966)

by Daniel Keyes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,905251286 (4.08)1 / 361
Recently added byprivate library, BookDiva85, jevins, TinaMReid, ForeverMasterless, M.Bonus, sci901, phoibee, AnRaibh, patb5
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English (243)  French (4)  Tagalog (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  All (251)
Showing 1-5 of 243 (next | show all)
This was a summer reading book for me way back when -- 9th grade? -- and I absolutely LOVED it!! I was so excited when I came across the book again while cleaning out my house. I had to reread it. I loved it again.

You see, I saw myself in Charlie.
My Mom told me all the time that I was stupid, an idiot, never going to amount to anything, lazy. I could totally relate to Charlie's writing style when he started -- that was ME!! And I wanted to be smart and loved!!!

The book continues to be utterly amazing ... even after all these years.

(Oh, and how did I become "smart"? I read and then I wrote and then I learned. I never was stupid or an idiot or even lazy ... it's that no one ever took the time to /teach/ me. I had to learn on my own.)

Adrianne ( )
1 vote Adrianne_p | Mar 5, 2017 |
People call it sci-fi, so I wasn’t entirely sure what kind of sci-fi elements it might include. I suppose technically it’s fictional neuroscience that gives Charlie his increased IQ, but that’s all. It’s 1966 science fiction based on a 1958 short story, something like an “experimental fable.” But I expected a philosophical tear-jerker and that’s what I got.

Full review: https://hannahgivens.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/flowers-for-algernon-by-daniel-keyes-classics-club/ ( )
1 vote FFortuna | Feb 26, 2017 |
This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission. Title: Flowers for Algernon Series: ---- Author: Daniel Keyes Rating: of 5 Battle Axes Genre: SFF Pages: 321 Format: Kindle Synopsis: Charlie, a mentally retarded man, volunteers for an experimental surgery to boost his intelligence. We follow his journey from beginning to end through a series of journal entries by Charlie himself. My Thoughts: ALL THE FEELZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!! I knew this followed the up and then down of Charlie and knew the ending but I have to admit, I was not prepared for how this hit me emotionally. It was heartbreaking to read about Charlie and his "friends" at the bakery and to realize, before Charlie did, just what kind of "friends" they actually were. To read about his burgeoning intelligence and to see his happiness and positive attitude melting before my eyes was like a kick in the gut, over and over and over again. I read this in one sitting because I couldn't put this down and I while I knew the ending, I had to see for myself. There was a time or two where I just put my kindle down and hunched up for a minute or so to let the storm pass through. By the time we came to his downward slide, it wasn't as bad, mainly because Charlie didn't realize how bad it was. Keyes does a great job of showing the reality without either being crass or gross or simplistic. All in all, I am glad I hadn't read this earlier in life. I probably wouldn't have appreciated it and simply shrugged it off. But I am very glad I have read it now and have to admit, this is also in the running for best book of 2015. It hit me that hard. " ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Although this is a very good book with a great story it is not a science fiction book. Fans of this genre will most likely be disappointed. ( )
  jamesreid | Dec 5, 2016 |
I read Flowers for Algernon for Banned Books week. I had heard about it over the years, but I was never required to read it. Since I read very little science fiction, I never thought I’d enjoy reading it. Enjoyment isn’t exactly what I got from this book–enlightenment might be more appropriate.

In case you don’t know what the book is about, here is a brief synopsis. Charlie was a mentally challenged young man who wanted nothing more than to be smarter than he was. He volunteered for an experimental surgery that was supposed to increase his intelligence. The surgery had previously only been done on mice, and Algernon the mouse was the result of an earlier operation. When Charlie saw how Algernon navigated a maze with ease, he was convinced that the operation would be successful.

Charlie’s surgery was also a success, but his ever increasing intelligence caused difficulties in his relationships. His “friends” at work found out very quickly that he was no longer a target for their teasing, to which he had always been oblivious. They were so uncomfortable that they complained to the owner of the bakery he had been working at for years. He was let go.

He tried having relationships with women, but his emotional intelligence had not progressed on the scale of his intellect. The teacher who had taught him for years ultimately ended their budding relationship, because he was so far ahead of her intellectually, she could no longer keep up.

He reached a point at which he understood that his improvement was only temporary. He watched Algernon regress until all his progress was gone. Then Charlie himself began that backward slide.

I was heartbroken to see his realization that the people he thought were his “friends” were being cruel to him all along. Increased awareness and understanding brought him nothing but pain. I was almost thankful at the end when he reached a point of being somewhat stable, even though he may not have been even as intelligent as he was when he started.

I asked myself if he would have truly consented to the surgery if he had known what would happen to him afterwards. Did he actually have capacity to consent?

I don’t know if I was supposed to wish that increasing intelligence was a possibility for people with mental challenges, but I finished the book with a feeling of discomfort that his life was seen on the same level as that of a mouse in the eyes of the people performing the experiment.

It was ultimately a book that raised a lot of questions in my head and heart. There aren’t many answers to be found–just more questions. ( )
2 vote gentlespirit512 | Nov 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 243 (next | show all)
This was a summer reading book for me way back when -- 9th grade? -- and I absolutely LOVED it!! I was so excited when I came across the book again while cleaning out my house. I had to reread it. I loved it again.

You see, I saw myself in Charlie.
My Mom told me all the time that I was stupid, an idiot, never going to amount to anything, lazy. I could totally relate to Charlie's writing style when he started -- that was ME!! And I wanted to be smart and loved!!!

The book continues to be utterly amazing ... even after all these years.

(Oh, and how did I become "smart"? I read and then I wrote and then I learned. I never was stupid or an idiot or even lazy ... it's that no one ever took the time to /teach/ me. I had to learn on my own.)
[Keyes] has taken the obvious, treated it in a most obvious fashion, and succeeded in creating a tale that is suspenseful and touching - all in modest degree, but it is enough.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, Eliot Fremont-Smith (pay site) (Mar 7, 1966)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel Keyesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barroso, PazTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delessert, EtienneIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Etienne, DelessertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallet, Georges HilaireTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leek, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paz, BarrosoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, HilkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podaný, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabkin, Eric S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santos, DomingoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szepessy, GyörgyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees anyone whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be to (sic) ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter life, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from drakness to the day is dazzled by excess of light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity the other; or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul which comes from below into the light, there will be more reason in this than in the laugh which greets him who returns from above out of the light into the den. Plato, The Republic
For my mother And in memory of my father
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Dr Strauss says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir and evrey thing that happins to me from now on.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the full length novel based on the short story. Please do not combine the two.
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Haiku summary
What if your dream to

get smart came true, but then you

knew you'd lose it all?


Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156030306, Paperback)

Daniel Keyes wrote little SF but is highly regarded for one classic, Flowers for Algernon. As a 1959 novella it won a Hugo Award; the 1966 novel-length expansion won a Nebula. The Oscar-winning movie adaptation Charly (1968) also spawned a 1980 Broadway musical.

Following his doctor's instructions, engaging simpleton Charlie Gordon tells his own story in semi-literate "progris riports." He dimly wants to better himself, but with an IQ of 68 can't even beat the laboratory mouse Algernon at maze-solving:

I dint feel bad because I watched Algernon and I lernd how to finish the amaze even if it takes me along time.

I dint know mice were so smart.

Algernon is extra-clever thanks to an experimental brain operation so far tried only on animals. Charlie eagerly volunteers as the first human subject. After frustrating delays and agonies of concentration, the effects begin to show and the reports steadily improve: "Punctuation, is? fun!" But getting smarter brings cruel shocks, as Charlie realizes that his merry "friends" at the bakery where he sweeps the floor have all along been laughing at him, never with him. The IQ rise continues, taking him steadily past the human average to genius level and beyond, until he's as intellectually alone as the old, foolish Charlie ever was--and now painfully aware of it. Then, ominously, the smart mouse Algernon begins to deteriorate...

Flowers for Algernon is a timeless tear-jerker with a terrific emotional impact. --David Langford

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:21 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

From the Publisher: With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance-until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie? An American classic that inspired the award-winning movie Charly.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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