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Flowers for Algernon

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  329,542 Ratings  ·  11,067 Reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him.
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Turtleback Books (first published 1966)
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Stratagem Is there such a thing as a PG rating (equivalent) for books? I don't really know. I'd say that this book contains some 'mild nudity' and 'mild…moreIs there such a thing as a PG rating (equivalent) for books? I don't really know. I'd say that this book contains some 'mild nudity' and 'mild profanity' but It'd probably get a PG rating if translated 1-on-1 to the big screen...(less)
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Community Reviews

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Emily May
Sep 03, 2012 Emily May rated it it was amazing
I am finding it hard to put into words the vast range of emotions I experienced whilst reading this little tale of hope, perseverance, truth and humanity. When it comes to science fiction, I would hesitate before declaring myself a fan, simply because there's only a certain amount of aliens, spaceships and intergalactic battles I can take before I start to become distracted. A good action scene on a distant planet only takes my enjoyment so far and the books I have enjoyed most from this genre t ...more
Pouting Always
Feb 26, 2017 Pouting Always rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow I'm so glad I finally read it. I had only read passages of it before but it was totally with sitting and reading the whole thing through. I don't even know what to say I can't stop crying because of how things are for Charlie and I guess I just wish that they way he was treated wasnt so close to reality. Also it's kind of painful to have to question things like intimacy vs intelligence and self actualization which are brought up so poignantly in the book. I don't even know if anything I'm sa ...more
Amy
May 09, 2007 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book in 8th grade, in my english class. I remembered enjoying it, being fascinated in how the author painted the picture that I really was reading Charlie's journal by use of spelling, grammar and punctuation related to the level Charlie was at when writing the entries. What I didn't know at the time was the people who created the text book I used felt it was okay to chop whole chapters out of the middle of the book. They felt pulling out whole sections was okay in the name of ...more
Wil Wheaton
Jun 10, 2009 Wil Wheaton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Heartbreaking and beautiful. Required reading, as far as I am concerned.
Dan Schwent
Dec 15, 2016 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled man, undergoes an experiment to increase his intelligence, his life changes in ways he never imagined. But will the intelligence increase be permanent.

I first became aware of Flowers for Algernon when it was mentioned in an episode of Newsradio. I forgot about it until that episode of The Simpsons inspired by it, when it was discovered Homer had a crayon lodged in his brain. I'd mostly forgotten about it again until it popped up for ninety-nine cents in o
...more
Simon
Aug 02, 2010 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-masterworks, sf
This has to be one of my favourite sub-genres; psychological science fiction. This is up there with the likes of A Scanner Darkly and More Than Human. These are the sort of SF books that I would recommend to those who look down on the genre.

This book explores such themes as the nature of intelligence, the effects of intelligence on the way you see others and the world around you, as well as social attitudes towards people with mental problems.

The narrative structure is a series of progress repo
...more
Lyn
Dec 03, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captivating and heartbreaking.

Daniel Keyes 1958 publication about an intellectually disabled man who, through an experimental medical procedure, gains genius level IQ is a classic of science fiction.

Charlie Gordon began attending classes at night for “retarded adults” so that he could learn to read and to “be like other people”. With the assistance of his night school teacher, he is interviewed by scientists and is accepted into the experimental program.

At the laboratory he meets Algernon, a mou
...more
Jean
I first came across Flowers For Algernon as a short story in a science fiction anthology many years ago. It seemed an enjoyably poignant and perceptive slight tale. By 1966 the author Daniel Keyes had developed his story into this full length novel, the joint winner of the year's Nebula award for the best Science Fiction novel. It was the high point of Daniel Keyes’s career. As well as nonfiction he has written several other science fiction books which explore the workings of the mind. But the c ...more
Cassy
Dec 09, 2011 Cassy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cassy by: NPR Top 100 SciFi & Fantasy Books
This book was hidden in plain sight. Meaning I was surprised to realize the majority of my Goodreads friends had already read a book that I had never heard of before. Correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect it was a requisite high school read for many.

One reviewer mentioned the abridged version he read in school had trimmed all the sexual bits. What a shame! I may have arrived late, but at least that meant I was introduced to the raw version. The investigation of a 32 year old man struggling fo
...more
Brian Yahn
Sep 30, 2013 Brian Yahn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More than anything else, Flowers for Algernon is thought provoking. It's also sad when it needs to be, enjoyable for the most part, and often comical. Although it casts a gloomy aspect over the meaning of life, it's somehow still uplifting and motivational.

It makes you think about, if you know the end--that you're going to die--is there really a point to carrying on? And even with conditions as extraordinary as Charlie Gordon's, Daniel Keyes, explores that question vividly--through this expertly
...more
Candi
"The walls between people are thin here, and if I listen quietly, I hear what is going on. Greenwich Village is like that too. Not just being close - because I don't feel it in a crowded elevator or on the subway during the rush - but on a hot night when everyone is out walking, or sitting in the theater, there is a rustling, and for a moment I brush against someone and sense the connection between the branch and trunk and the deep root. At such moments my flesh is thin and tight, and the unbear ...more
Michael
Oct 31, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was in junior high school the movie Charly was big. Everyone saw it, and one girl, I can’t remember her name, had a Charly protective book cover and was so obsessed with the movie that she’d write the name, with the backwards “R” on everything, including adding it as a middle name to her own name on tests and papers she would hand in. She was in all the school plays and sang beautifully so my guess is her connection was with the play and the movie as opposed to the subject of the story. O ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This review is for the full novel version of Flowers for Algernon, as opposed to the original Hugo Award-winning short story, which I've reviewed in more detail here. I prefer the short story over this novel, which felt like it contained a lot of filler that, in the end, wasn't particularly memorable for me. It's still a great story, either way, but the original short story version had a lot more impact on me.

Full disclosure: I read the full novel version many years ago, as a young adult, maybe
...more
Rita
Feb 24, 2011 Rita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially those who like to experience emotional journeys.
One of the most touching stories ever written. And no, it's not Romance! It's Sci-Fi. This is a first person narrative that has been written as a series of progress reports from a deeply retarded man, who can barely be considered literate. His writing is ful of bad grammar and spelling mistakes. At first, if you are not prepared for it, this makes this book a little hard to read, and some passages even have to be re-read a couple of times before you understand them. Our protagonist goes through ...more
Theresa
I read "Flowers for Algernon" when I was in junior high, (the '90s rule!) and all these years later, this book still makes me cry. A must-read!
Manny
Dec 09, 2008 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨
description

★★★★★★★★★★[10/10]

When the natural cycle is disrupted,
description 

it descends to this!
description 

There was no way to stop the sands of knowledge from slipping through the hourglass of my mind.


This is the gut-wrenchingly poignant tale of one simpleton, Charlie Gordon, who went on to become a genius from being a gene-ass (short for 'genetically cursed ass'), and from a genius back to being a jeanass(that was what Charlie thought they were going to make him after the operashun operation.)

He was born jeanass.
He
...more
James
Aug 07, 2016 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Flowers for Algernon, a classic novella written in 1966 by Daniel Keyes, often read in high school as standard curriculum in America. A few shorter versions of the story exist, as well as film or TV adaptions for those who want to compare the literary art with the visual. I enjoyed this book when I read it the first time and even returned to reading the shorter version during a college English course. If you're not familiar with it, it's the story of Charlie, w
...more
Anne
Apr 18, 2009 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is nothing specific in this book that dates it -- it could have been written 4 years ago instead of 40 -- except for it's obsession with a certain brand of psychology and sex with near strangers. In this way, it just screams "I WAS WRITTEN IN THE 60s!"

I dunno. Books from this era just bug me in general. They are so smugly sure of their analysis of the whys and wherefores of human nature, yet they still cling to the archetypes. Charlie knows The Puffed-up Scientist and The Down-to-earth Sci
...more
Phrynne
May 28, 2014 Phrynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why have I never read this before? It captivated me totally. I actually read it in one sitting because I could not bear to put it down so I am now totally sleep deprived but very happy. What a wonderful book despite its sad but necessary ending. I was so glad the author did not try for a fake happy solution to Charlie's problems because in real life there is none. This is a story which makes the readers look at themselves in judgment and know that sometimes we really do these things to others. A ...more
Maciek
How strange it is that people of honest feelings and sensibility, who would not take advantage of a man born without arms or legs or eyes—how such people think nothing of abusing a man born with low intelligence.

This book tricked me. It's the 25th novel released as a part of the SF Masterworks, but it's hardly science-fictiony - which is totally not what I expected: I thought that the novel would be set in deep space and would serve as a commentary on the (mis)use of new, extraordinary technolog
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
عنوانها: چند شاخه گل برای الجرنون؛ چارلی: گل برای الجرنون؛ دسته گلی برای الجرنون؛ گلهایی برای الجرنون؛ گلهایی به یاد الجرنون؛ نویسنده: دانیل کیز (کایز)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: پنجم آگوست سال 1994 میلادی
عنوان: چند شاخه گل برای الجرنون؛ نویسنده: دانیل کیز (کایز)؛ مترجم: پرویز شهریاری؛ تهران، همراه، 1373، در 80 ص؛ شابک: 9646982174؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 20 م
عنوان: دسته گلی برای الجرنون؛ نویسنده: دانیل کیز (کایز)؛ مترجم: محمدعلی حمیدرفیعی، تهران، ت
...more
Diane
Apr 21, 2013 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was just as powerful as it was when I first read it in 8th grade.*

I love stories in which a character gets smarter, and I liked how Keyes showed Charlie's transformation from a "retardate" to genius, and how Charlie suddenly understood his world better. But what goes up, must come down, and the last part of the story is heartbreaking. The story raises so many questions: Is it ethical to experiment on humans? Was Charlie better off when he was smart? Or was ignorance bliss?

I would rec
...more
Carol
A touching and unforgettable story that grabs you from the very first page and doesn't let go. The movie was good too, but the book offers so much more detail into Charlie's feelings as he navigates through his emotional journey.

Highly recommend this fast-paced tale.

Monique

Original post here.

"..the men of the cave would say of him that up
he went and down he came without the eyes..."
- Plato


There hasn't been a book - so far - that has moved me to tears like Flowers for Algernon did. I still had several pages to go before the end of the novel, but already I was clumsily wiping my eyes and runny nose, concealing my face from my husband lest he think me silly for crying over a book.

Flowers for Algernon is about Charlie Gordon, a 33-year-old mental retardate whose (in)
...more
Apatt
Feb 05, 2012 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"She said for a person who God gave so little to you did more than a lot of people with brains they never even used. I said that all my friends are smart people and their good. They like me and they never did anything that wasnt nice. Then she got something in her eye and she had to run out to the ladys room."
Ah! Right in the feels! (Don't worry about the typos, they are supposed to be there!).

I read Flowers for Algernon decades ago in its original short story form, this is one of those storie
...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
4.5 I haven't read a book in one day in a while but wow... This book left me heartbroken!
Rakhi Dalal
May 24, 2017 Rakhi Dalal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, compelling
Our usual response to the importance of IQ tests is quite interesting to contemplate. There are people (mostly in educational institutes or organizations) who attach great importance to the IQ scores of individuals. Evidently, the score helps them in selecting candidates as students or employees well-suited for their area of profession/roles/jobs. In the age of facebook and twitter, the importance credited to IQ scores can be best apprehended by the number of people flaunting their scores from s ...more
Stephen
6.0 stars. On my list of All Time Favorites. This book's emotional impact on me was significant. I read it almost 17 years ago and it still sticks in my mind as one of the most heart-wrenching SF stories ever written. It is a short book and an easy read (as far as being able to get through it quickly) but VERY, VERY powerful. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!

Winner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1967)
Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Award
Voted to Locus list of All Time
...more
Kristen
Jun 15, 2011 Kristen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction, sci-fi
I liked this book because I too have a filthy rat for a friend.
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Daniel Keyes was an American author best known for his Hugo award-winning short story and Nebula award-winning novel Flowers for Algernon. Keyes was given the Author Emeritus honor by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2000.

Keyes was born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York. At age 17, he joined the U.S. Maritime Service as ship's purser. He obtained a B.A. in psychology from B
...more
More about Daniel Keyes...

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“I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.” 986 likes
“Thank God for books and music and things I can think about.” 489 likes
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