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Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
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Flowers For Algernon (original 1966; edition 2011)

by Daniel Keyes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,258286356 (4.1)1 / 391
Member:EJAYS17
Title:Flowers For Algernon
Authors:Daniel Keyes
Info:Gollancz (2011), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Sci-Fi, Classic

Work details

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1966)

  1. 71
    The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: Charlie is definitely not like Lou, true. But their experiences and perspectives have the same mental effect on readers.
  2. 31
    Awakenings by Oliver Sacks (Mumugrrl)
  3. 20
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (sturlington)
  4. 87
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (unlucky)
  5. 10
    I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier (angelofmusic_81)
  6. 00
    Mixtape for the Apocalypse by Jemiah Jefferson (kiparsky)
    kiparsky: Similar narrative structure used for a similar purpose, and both are brilliant and heartbreaking books.
  7. 00
    After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley (Jarandel)
    Jarandel: Similar introduction of a speculative/fantastical premise as a device for observing and criticizing the writer's present reality.
  8. 11
    Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Same theme of experimental intelligence enhancement. Disch's experimenters are much more sinister, and his experimental subjects much more intelligent.
  9. 01
    Oversite by Maureen F. McHugh (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: A short story by Maureen McHugh about an experimental treatment for Alzheimer's that looks at the effect of loss and gain of mental functioning from a bystander's point-of-view.
  10. 02
    The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  11. 15
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Patangel)
  12. 04
    My Teacher Fried My Brains by Bruce Coville (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: More humor, less drama, but a similar effect in the end.
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English (275)  French (5)  Spanish (1)  Tagalog (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (285)
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
Elementary
  SteppLibrary | May 21, 2019 |
This book didn't make me cry (although it came close), but it was very sad, emotional, and raw. It won major science fiction awards, but to me it's more literary - it's so human!

Charlie Gordon isn't very smart... he has a severely low IQ and as a product of his time, was often referred to as retarded. His story is told through a series of journal entries (or progress reports) about his life cleaning in a bakery, attending classes for the mentally challenged, and the prospect of an experimental surgery that will make him smart. He's 32 and all he want in life is to be well liked, he figures if he can get smart he will be able to achieve that and so much more. The scientists have already operated successfully on a mouse named Algernon, and they seem fairly confident that the same results will apply to Charlie. He happily allows them to operate on his brain and is initially frustrated because he doesn't perceive anything as happening, but slowly his mind starts expanding and his entries become more and more eloquent and hopeful, until one day ... they aren't hopeful and happy anymore. Groundbreaking and wonderfully believable. Charlie's journey from "dumb" to "smart" is a revelation and brilliantly told. I loved this book even though it made me an emotional wreck. ( )
1 vote ecataldi | Apr 26, 2019 |
Excellent -- heartbreaking, thought-provoking. Easy to see why it's a classic. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
... and that's how I ended up crying in the park and reassuring the police that I was fine, only, it was a very good book. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Mar 18, 2019 |
Wow. I am not much of a science fiction reader. For some reason this title was in my head and on a list and I am better for it. It was very moving and in some odd way timely and relevant. The commands to love, tolerate and respect everyone are more complex and nuanced than I care to admit. The ego is a terrible monster, cattle bossing with accustomed authority. Themes forcing an objective view of that culture are painful but helpful. Each ego colliding with all others is the misery most often cutting at our souls. It sounds mushy but I will try to love more and more deeply. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
[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 (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel Keyesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barroso, PazTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burgerer, Eva-MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delessert, EtienneIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dessauer, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallet, Georges HilaireTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leek, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monecke, HiltguntTranslatorsecondary 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
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For my mother And in memory of my father
First words
Dr Strauss says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir and evrey thing that happins to me from now on.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the full length novel based on the short story. Please do not combine the two.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Book description
Haiku summary
What if your dream to

get smart came true, but then you

knew you'd lose it all?

(legallypuzzled)

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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