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Flowers for Algernon

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  361,127 Ratings  ·  12,317 Reviews
The story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In 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. T ...more
Published (first published 1959)
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Shannon Depends on the age of the reader and beliefs of the parents. There are no explicitly sexual scenes, but there are scenes that describe sex or sexual…moreDepends on the age of the reader and beliefs of the parents. There are no explicitly sexual scenes, but there are scenes that describe sex or sexual feelings in somewhat vague physical terms, and these focus more on the emotional experience. The intercourse is outside of marriage. I might be okay with my teenager reading it, but it's not the best choice for a pre-teen or younger - although I can't imagine why a younger reader would be interested, honestly. There are mildly violent situations involving bullying. There is no swearing. The protagonist specifically endorses polyamory at one point. I would not have my teen read it without reading it first myself, and we would discuss the book.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Hakob "Цветы для Элджернона" - удивительное произведение, одно из представителей человеческой фантастики, фантастики,в которой главное - человек, восприятие…more"Цветы для Элджернона" - удивительное произведение, одно из представителей человеческой фантастики, фантастики,в которой главное - человек, восприятие и чувства которого ставятся превыше всего. На примере Элджернона можно отследить видоизменение восприятия мира. Советую всем и вся!!!(less)

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Emily May
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Wil Wheaton
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Heartbreaking and beautiful. Required reading, as far as I am concerned.
Amy
May 09, 2007 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
Adina
I read this 2 years ago, before I started writing more detailed reviews. I am not planning to modify my thoughts from back then but I want to add my father's thoughts. I gifted this book to him last Christmas and he finally got to read it. He was as deeply moved by this magnificent heart wrenching novel as I was and he felt the need to send me a message when he finished to tell how impressed he was. It was the first time he sent me an emotional message about a book so with his permission, I will ...more
Dan Schwent
Dec 15, 2016 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
Raeleen Lemay
what a great read! I sort of feel like it was too simple, but still an enjoyable enough book.
Michael Finocchiaro
Flowers for Algernon is a wonderful book about how raw intelligence can be both a gift and a curse. The protagonist, Charlie Gordon, has his IQ increased via a surgical procedure from that of a barely functional mentally retarded person to superhuman intelligence and writes the book in first person based on his experience. The procedure was first tried on lab mouse Algernon who the protagonist befriends and who is a litmus test of what he experiences. The maturity of the writing improves as he b ...more
Simon
Aug 02, 2010 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captivating and heartbreaking.

Daniel Keyes 1958 novel 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 mouse who
...more
James
Aug 07, 2016 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
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
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
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon in junior high school. At the time, I had no idea it was such a groundbreaking novel. Reading it again many years later, I'm not surprised that it is powerful, but I am surprised at just how complete the story is. There were parts of the story that stuck with me all these years: Charlie's belief that his life would be better if he were somehow more intelligent and the heartache of his return to his former condition.

It's difficult to verbalize why
...more
Cassy
Dec 09, 2011 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
Sidharth Vardhan

On Intelligence

Are there any qualities that should make a man consider himself superior from other humans? In medieval times, a physically strong man would consider himself superior to physically weaker one. A rich person would look down upon a poor person. And a more attractive person would consider himself to one who wasn't - and those with physical handicaps like a hunchback, blind or deaf would be made to face prejudice. A lot of it is still true but now I think at least now the best of m
...more
Brian Yahn
Sep 30, 2013 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
Vanessa
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerfully sad heartbreaking story about a simple minded man with a significantly low I.Q who undergoes a scientific experiment to enhance his intelligence. Charlie Gordon becomes the human guinea pig. The procedure goes well and he becomes exceptionally bright, during this brief time many lessons are learnt, although he becomes a genius in terms of I.Q he learns he is still emotionally stunted, he can't always manage his emotions in a rational way and many discoveries with regressions into hi ...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
Manny
Dec 09, 2008 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.
Michael
Oct 31, 2011 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
Anne
Apr 18, 2009 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
Rita
Feb 24, 2011 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
Phrynne
May 28, 2014 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
Sam Quixote
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve known about this novel since I was in high school but didn’t get around to reading it until just recently at the age of 33 (coincidentally the same age as the protagonist!). I read a Simpsons comic and watched an episode of the Simpsons TV show which both covered the same story so I felt like I didn’t need to read the original. But I’m glad I finally checked out Daniel Keyes’ Flowers For Algernon because it’s actually really good - it definitely deserves its classic status.

Charlie Gordon i
...more
Elizabeth Sagan
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I have to make a gift and I’m thinking of buying a book, knowing that the person isn’t an avid reader, I’m thinking of buying Flowers for Algernon. It’s such a beautiful and sad book. I can’t imagine how frightening must be to know that you’re slowly losing your mind, that you’re losing what makes you you, to know that it won’t be long until it won’t matter anymore, at least for you, because you won’t remember. And it makes me wonder – what makes me the person that I am? What if I get i ...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!
James
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Flowers for Algernon’ written by Daniel Keyes (published in 1966) came as nothing short of a revelation to me. ‘Flowers for Algernon’ – is a story of experimental surgery to increase intelligence by artificial means. The narrative here is based around a series of reports by its first human test subject. At first sight and based on this initial premise, wasn’t this just going to be yet another run-of-the-mill sci-fi story of experimental lab work on human subjects…hadn’t we seen all this many, m ...more
[Shai] The Bibliophage
Flowers For Algernon is undeniably one of the saddest or heart-wrenching novel I've read so far. There are numerous times that some parts of this book that made me teary eyed, especially on how Charlie was maltreated by his own mother and younger sister, and by his colleagues in the bakery.

This novel was first published on the late 50's, thus the people narrated during that time treated people with down syndrome differently. I cannot say that those who had this genetic disorder nowadays no long
...more
Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨
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★★★★★★★★★★[10/10]

When the natural cycle is disrupted,
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it descends to this!
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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
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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.” 1163 likes
“Thank God for books and music and things I can think about.” 543 likes
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