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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
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Flowers for Algernon (edition 2005)

by Daniel Keyes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,928384333 (4.13)2 / 464
Young Adult Fiction. Charlie Gordon knows that he isn't very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for retarded adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie's brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon. Meanwhile, each day Charlie keeps a diary of what is happening to him. This is his poignant record of the startling changes in his mind and his life. Flowers for Algernon was first published as a short story, but soon received wide acclaim as it appeared in anthologies, as a television special, and as an award-winning motion picture, Charly. In its final, expanded form, this haunting story won the Nebula Award for the Best Novel of the Year. Through Jeff Woodman's narration, now it becomes an unforgettable audio experience.… (more)
Member:SofiaKlatzker
Title:Flowers for Algernon
Authors:Daniel Keyes
Info:Harvest Books, Paperback, 311 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work Information

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

  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. 41
    Awakenings by Oliver Sacks (Mumugrrl)
  4. 97
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (unlucky)
  5. 10
    I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier (amwhitsett)
  6. 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.
  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
    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.
  9. 00
    Brain Wave by Poul Anderson (aspirit)
  10. 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
  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)
BitLife (73)
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» See also 464 mentions

English (367)  French (6)  Italian (3)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Tagalog (1)  All languages (381)
Showing 1-5 of 367 (next | show all)
Sentimentality is the book’s main draw. We feel for Charlie when he slowly realizes he was once retarded. We feel for Charlie as he remembers being bullied. We feel for Charlie when his mother can’t accept him being different. We feel for Charlie when he has trouble connecting with women. Again, making readers feel something is no mean feat at all, and Keyes deserves credit for that.

The novel’s themes by themselves are not superficial: what does intelligence do to a person? What does being smarter than most people around you do to someone? How are emotions and intelligence correlated? I’m sure lots of brainy people that read lots of books have bumped into these questions as teenagers, and possibly in their later lives as well.

But sadly this novel doesn’t show a lot of insight in the human condition – not that Keyes doesn’t have ambition, opening his novel with a quote from Plato’s Republic. Yet the end result is more philosophical soap opera than probing analysis: it seems as if the book only adds plot & emotion to the original short story, not so much ideas.

(...)

Full review on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It ( )
  bormgans | Jun 11, 2024 |
Is This An Overview?
Charlie Gordon is intellectually disabled. Before and after having an operation that can increase Charlie’s intelligence, Charlie is asked to write down progress reports for research purposes. They act like diary entries. It is through these progress reports that the book is written. Before the operation, the researchers perform various tests on Charlie’s intelligence. Some of the tests are a competition with the mouse Algernon, to complete a maze. Charlie kept losing to the mouse. The mouse had the intelligence operation that they were going to perform on Charlie.

When they do perform the operation on Charlie, the gradual progress frustrations Charlie, but eventually Charlie becomes much smarter. Even Charlie’s memory improves. With the new found intelligence, Charlie became an expert in many intellectual fields and languages. When Charlie was intellectually disabled, Charlie had friends, but the friends had fun at Charlie’s expense. When Charlie became an intellectual, Charlie made others feel inferior and therefore lost friends. Charlie’s intelligence became so vast, that Charlie thought the researchers were inadequate compared to Charlie, that they were frauds. Charlie’s intelligence may have drastically increased, but not Charlie’s emotional intelligence. Problems for Charlie did not disappear after having the intelligence operation. The problems just became different.

Caveats?
As this book is written from progress reports by Charlie, some of the progress reports can be difficult to read. As Charlie’s intelligence improves, so does the writing. This makes the story very consistent. Giving the reader an immersive experience.

This book has psychological foundations, but psychology has advanced. Some of the ideas presented in the book might have been popular during the era, but have been proven wrong. Terminology has also gone through changes. Some of the terminology was appropriate during the era, but are no longer considered appropriate. ( )
  Eugene_Kernes | Jun 4, 2024 |
dopo quasi 5 anni è apparso un like su questa valutazione, non ricordando cosa avessi scritto sono venuta a vedere e ho trovato il nulla! 4 parole in croce per un romanzo che ho adorato (scuoto la testa sconsolata)
cinque anni è anche il tempo che mi ci è voluto per rendermi conto che questo spazio non serve soltanto per rinfrescare la memoria a me stessa: a volte qualcun altro legge
quindi, Lettore Probabile (amico o sconosciuto che tu sia) la recensione ufficiale è questa:

impattante, potente, straniante, straziante
da leggere assolutamente


APPUNTI PER LA MEMORIA:
ritardato/genio
esperimento scientifico ( )
  LLonaVahine | May 22, 2024 |
Other than a few problems with the way this book it's written, I really enjoyed it and will recommend it in the future.

Charlie is an interesting protagonist that seems, at times, close to being one of numerous archetypes seen elsewhere (the bubbly comedic relief, the self-tortured artist, the antisocial genius) and yet manages to never fall into one of those categories, he's layered and that makes him seem real. ( )
  icallithunger | Mar 11, 2024 |
I want to read this again. I read for school either in junior or high school and remember it made me cry.
  jazzbird61 | Feb 29, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 367 (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
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
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 darkness 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.
Publisher's editors
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Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Young Adult Fiction. Charlie Gordon knows that he isn't very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for retarded adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie's brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon. Meanwhile, each day Charlie keeps a diary of what is happening to him. This is his poignant record of the startling changes in his mind and his life. Flowers for Algernon was first published as a short story, but soon received wide acclaim as it appeared in anthologies, as a television special, and as an award-winning motion picture, Charly. In its final, expanded form, this haunting story won the Nebula Award for the Best Novel of the Year. Through Jeff Woodman's narration, now it becomes an unforgettable audio experience.

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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)

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