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Flowers for Algernon (1966)

by Daniel Keyes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,024363335 (4.12)1 / 443
When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him. 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)
  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. 40
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (sturlington)
  3. 97
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (unlucky)
  4. 31
    Awakenings by Oliver Sacks (Mumugrrl)
  5. 10
    I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier (angelofmusic_81)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 00
    The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (hilge)
    hilge: Not so much based on characters or storyline more a general feel to the book that make them feel like good matches
  9. 00
    Brain Wave by Poul Anderson (aspirit)
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 02
    The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  13. 04
    My Teacher Fried My Brains by Bruce Coville (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: More humor, less drama, but a similar effect in the end.
  14. 16
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Patangel)
1960s (144)
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» See also 443 mentions

English (348)  French (6)  Italian (3)  Tagalog (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (362)
Showing 1-5 of 348 (next | show all)
Years ago I saw the movie, Charly, with Cliff Robertson. I thought, having seen the movie, that there was really no reason to read the book. I was wrong. What a poignant, sad and moving tale this is, told from the point of view of Charlie Gordon, who goes from retardation to genius and experiences the world from two completely different human conditions. That it is written in Charlie’s own words is inspired. As Charlie begins to understand things about his life and recover his memories, there is a kind of sadness that goes with the knowledge that is bittersweet.

I could not help thinking about the story in the news last week that Down’s Syndrome has been almost eradicated in Iceland through the use of abortion. I wondered if this book didn’t speak volumes about the dangers of wanting everyone to be perfect and how much we might be missing when we discount the value of those who have disabilities, physical or mental.

I am sorry I waited so long to read this, but I treasure the experience. This one will go right into my favorites folder.

Special thanks to Candi, who pushed me to read this wonderful book.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Poignant. ( )
  btbell_lt | Aug 1, 2022 |
I first read the short story in eighth grade as an assignment. To this day, I remember how sad it was. I checked the paperback out as an adult today, thinking there would be themes i hadn't been aware of at thirteen. There were (duh). It was like reading two separate stories within one book, and I was engaged the whole time. my heart broke routinely over Algernon, especially as his decline progressed. Honestly, i cared more about him than I did Charlie, because Charlie spends a fair amount of the novel being a huge jerk. I was horrified at how poorly he was treated before the operation, all over again. I empathized with him at times. I still prefer the short story form. Miss Kinian creeps me out. He's your student, you goddamn wierdo, and you -knew- he'd regress. The other girlfriend was a character foil, and I didn't like her either. I liked what she did for the story, but not her personality. The author who wrote this might have had a problem with women, honestly, now that I think of all the women in the novel version. I'm glad I read the novel, but I don't think I'll read it again. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 22, 2022 |
Excellent read. Moving and thought provoking. Especially amazing considering it is from the 1950s. ( )
  NicholeReadsWithCats | Jun 17, 2022 |
4.5 Stars. Really good book. Amazing really, for the timeframe that it was orginally written in. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 348 (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 (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keyes, DanielAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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
Sims, AdamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szepessy, GyörgyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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(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.
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (2)

When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him. 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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
What if your dream to

get smart came true, but then you

knew you'd lose it all?

(legallypuzzled)

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