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Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon (original 1966; edition 1968)

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8,462200363 (4.08)1 / 272
Title:Flowers for Algernon
Info:Bantam (1968), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library

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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1966)

Unread books (1,026)
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English (192)  French (4)  Tagalog (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
I first read this in the early 80s when I was 15 or so and it made memorable impact. I was worried that reading it again would be a let down but it turned out to be as good indeed better than I remember. There is so much here for readers of all ages, indeed this is a book about the arc of an entire lifetime lived in a few months, so fast and very brightly. It is particularly powerful for anyone who has had a major medical procedure that saves your life, to experience existence not as something you control, but the direct result of another person's skill and knowledge, flawed though that knowledge may be. Not unlike the "creature" created by Dr. Frankenstein. Keyes really nailed it, the emotions of joy, rebellion, love, anger. More than a "science fiction" novel, it's timeless and relevant literature. ( )
  Stbalbach | Nov 27, 2014 |
  ngunity | Nov 23, 2014 |
What a wonderful surprise! This far exceeded my expectations and the audiobook version is outstanding to boot (performed by Jeff Woodman). Told in a series of journal entries, this is the story of Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled adult who participates in an experimental surgery that will drastically increase his IQ. While the procedure has previously been performed on mice (the mouse Algernon of the title, in particular), Charlie is the first human subject and there are serious risks involved, but he accepts them.

Through the journal entries, the reader follows Charlie as his IQ increases to the level of genius. He then must navigate a brand new terrain of friendship and love, while at the same time absorbing a huge amount of knowledge. Sadly, his emotional maturity lags behind his intelligence despite his strong desire to form meaningful relationships with other humans. In addition, he's suddenly flooded with long-repressed, painful memories of his childhood that allow him to piece together his past. (I kept thinking that repressed memories must have been a big thing in psychology at the time this was written, but I'm not sure.) This is a heartbreaking story, and Keyes achieves the perfect balance of intelligent, clear, science-based writing and a warm, moving story of a man desperately trying to fit into a world that bewilders and frustrates him. Some ideas explored in the novel that I found interesting: the close relationship between memory and intelligence, the difficulties involved in forming meaningful relationships with humans of average intelligence when at either far end of the IQ spectrum, and the old don't mess with Mother Nature/be careful what you wish for thing, often found in sci-fi. Great stuff! Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote DorsVenabili | Nov 19, 2014 |
I was interested mostly by the writing style but the actual story kind of bored me. ( )
  locriian | Oct 27, 2014 |
I always worry, when picking up a book I "missed" reading for school in my early years the way many people did, that I'll be disappointed - that I'll be too far past the stage in my life when the novel would have been revelatory and impactful and I just won't appreciate it. This has happened in the past and I know it will happen again, but I shouldn't have worried about Flowers for Algernon; this is one I'm sure I'll be thinking about on and off for quite a while. ( )
  okrysmastree | Oct 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (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 (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel Keyesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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
First words
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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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:40 -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 8 descriptions

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