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 The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration Will the same happen to Charlie


10 thoughts on “Flowers for Algernon

  1. Emily May Emily May says:

    I am finding it hard to put into words the vast range of emotions I experienced while reading this tale of hope, perseverance, truth and humanity When it comes to science fiction in general, I would hesitate before declaring myself a fan The books I have enjoyed most from this genre tend to be the softer,humanity focused stories Like this one I m a huge fan of science fiction that doesn t seem too far away something that I could imagine being just around the corner and that s how I I am finding it hard to put into words the vast range of emotions I experienced while reading this tale of hope, perseverance, truth and humanity When it comes to science fiction in general, I would hesitate before declaring myself a fan The books I have enjoyed most from this genre tend to be the softer,humanity focused stories Like this one I m a huge fan of science fiction that doesn t seem too far away something that I could imagine being just around the corner and that s how I felt about Flowers for Algernon This story is about Charlie Gordon who with an IQ of 68 can only hope to sweep the floors at the bakery Well, that is until he is invited to participate in an experiment previously only tested on animals The experiment is an operation that will gradually make him a genius and allow him to become the person he s always longed to be But intelligence comes with a price Charlie learns that the people he s known for years are not what he d always thought Where he once associated laughter with friendship, he soon learns that it is mockery It has been said that intelligence is mostly about having a good memory and Charlie Gordon finds that out the hard way Memories that had been forgotten come flooding back, bringing pain with them.Flowers for Algernon looks at so many different things mental disabilities, human nature, intelligence and love It made me feel sad, angry, frustrated and hopeful It made me shake my head at people s abhorrent behaviour, and it made me incredibly thankful for so many things I know how cliche that sounds but it s true Even though Charlie s intelligence grows to beyond that of a normal human, he is emotionally still very much a child and has to learn the things other people learned long ago He doesn t understand what is happening when his body becomes sexually responsive to a woman and he often doesn t understand why people say one thing but mean something completely different It s a very sad story and it made me think about so many things The ending just about broke my heart.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube


  2. Wil Wheaton Wil Wheaton says:

    Heartbreaking and beautiful Required reading, as far as I am concerned.


  3. Emily (Books with Emily Fox) Emily (Books with Emily Fox) says:

    All I knew about this classic when I went into was that it was about a mouse.Clearly I knew nothing.You re watching Charlie, the main character, go through an experimental procedure that increases his IQ The whole book, written in diary entries, let us see how it affects his life and how he struggles through it.I rarely cry while reading a book but I couldn t help myself here.It s a classic for a reason Read it You won t be able to put it down.


  4. Always Pouting Always Pouting says:

    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 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 saying is making any sense but the book really got to me and now I need to be alone to cry and consolidate myself with it and the new ideas it has made me consider


  5. Maggie Stiefvater Maggie Stiefvater says:

    Well, that was depressing ETA Across social media, people are asking me how I got out of high school without reading this book I didn t go to high school I left after a partial year look, don t do as I do, do as I say STAY IN SCHOOL


  6. Adina Adina says:

    I read this 2 years ago, before I started writingdetailed 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 I read this 2 years ago, before I started writingdetailed 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 paste here most of his wordsIntelligence, a gift or a course Yes, I finished the book and I am overwhelmed by many thoughts Flowers for Algernon is one of those books that after you read you realize how much you would have lost if you hadn t read it We can think of Charlie or of each of us who, as he does, we accumulate and then we loose what we got through hard work However, as he, we need to know that it wasn t for nothing Knowledge, accumulation, though, happiness, sadness, they all come from learning, books, from the ones around us Intelligence might be a gift but it still has a price which we have to payThere isbut that is a private daddy daughter talk I love sharing my love of books with my dad and I am emotional each time he loves one of the books i recommend Read Flowers for Algernon It is amazing, words cannot describe it My original review This book is extraordinary, one of my favorites It is a fast read but is is very powerful and heartbreaking I read it in the plane and I felt a little embarrassed when I started to weep at the end of the book Even though I was expecting the ending the way it is written still broke my heart I loved the way the book is written, as journal entries of an adult retard which is the subject of an experiment that makes him smart a lot smarter The writing at first is very childish but as the narrator changes so does the writing Very clever One of the things that I found to be most powerful was the way the narrator changed his view of others after becomingintelligent and the way others changed their attitude towards him I believe this should be read by everybody Highly recommended


  7. Amy Amy says:

    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 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 protecting children from bad concepts like sex, alcohol, and violence They didn t consider that perhaps leaving the story intact and waiting for the children to mature before handing them this story was a better route.I discovered this injustice when I was in a used bookstore, and remembered this story I read in class I enjoyed, so I dug up a copy and bought it When I got home, I jumped right in and started to reread it, only to get a shock in the middle of the book where suddenly there were whole chapters about this neighbor Charlie gets involved with that I didn t remember When I reread the bookrecently, there werethings that I realized would have been chopped out of a version intended for 8th grade students to read, and I just hadn t noticed as much the first time reading the complete copy because they were tucked in with themundane things towards the beginning of Charlies developments.All ranting aside, I find this book to be a fascinating look at human nature, personality and development It s well written, and does a good job placing you into Charlie s head as he goes up and down through this experiment If you read it in school like I first did, do yourself a favor and buy or borrow a complete copy of the book to read The lessons learned by all characters in the book certainly give you lots of think about your own behavior and that of others.EDIT There have been a few comments pointing out that the story was a short story first, likely the version I read in my school textbook, that was later expanded into the novel I only wanted to add this note to my review, as it seems some people comment without reading the other comments left, so I m seeing both comments informing me of this fact and comments of outrage that the book was censored


  8. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    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 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 one of my BookGorilla emails.Flowers for Algernon is one of those stories I wish I would have read years earlier It s simply marvelous It s about the nature of intelligence and how intelligence can be divisive It s a very emotional book.Personally, this was a very powerful book for me For a lot of my time in school, I was way ahead of the curve and didn t really click with other kids As Charlie s intelligence grew, eventually surpassing even the scientists that experimented on him, his feelings of isolation increased and I felt a lot of kinship toward Charlie His difficulties fitting in were the cherry on top of the loneliness sundae.As Charlie s intelligence grew and he comprehended things from his past, it was hard not to feel sorry for him Once he starts sliding backward, the book keeps gettingandsad Keyes doesn t mind kicking you in the emotional junk, that s for sure.I love the way the book is written in periodic progress reports from Charlie It s perfect vehicle to show his increase in intelligence and eventual decline There were man tears shed over the course of the book I had to set the book down a few times to keep from sobbing in my cube.Flowers for Algernon is one of those rare science fiction novels that transcends the genre Five out of five stars


  9. Lyn Lyn says:

    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 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 has undergone a similar treatment and who can traverse a series of mazes faster than Charlie Once through the procedure, Charlie first becomes able to out pace Algernon in the maze game and then advances far beyond what the researchers thought possible.But intellectual advancement is not the same as emotional and social development and Charlie runs into problems as his life is turned upside down by the changes His family and social interactions undergo significant transformations Charlie is not the same person as he was before.Keyes conflict develops when Algernon begins to show signs of reversals and the question becomes will Charlie also lose that which he has gained Presented as a series of progress reports written by Charlie to document and chronicle his perceptions during the months long experiment, the reader is taken on a journey through Charlie s unfortunate past, the amazingly rapid intellectual improvements and the sad terrors of what may come Told with empathy and compassion, Keyes explores what it means to be human and what is most important.A book that everyone should read


  10. Dana Ilie Dana Ilie says:

    While this is clearly speculative fiction, the point of Flowers for Algernon isn t the technology that lets Charlie becomeintelligent but rather how people react to him, both before and afterwards, as his perceptions of the world change This is, in part, a sharp rebuke of the way that the mentally retarded are treated, but there are also interesting explorations of identity, friendship, and the results of revisiting one s past There are several wonderfully memorable characters, particula While this is clearly speculative fiction, the point of Flowers for Algernon isn t the technology that lets Charlie becomeintelligent but rather how people react to him, both before and afterwards, as his perceptions of the world change This is, in part, a sharp rebuke of the way that the mentally retarded are treated, but there are also interesting explorations of identity, friendship, and the results of revisiting one s past There are several wonderfully memorable characters, particularly the free living artist living next door.The journal technique is quite effective in bringing the reader into the story and conveying Charlie s intelligence level, using spelling and grammar as superficial clues and the sophistication of Charlie s observations as a deeper clue to his current intelligence level Over the course of the book, the writing slowly becomessophisticated, in tune with the underlying thoughts I liked the balance between first person immediacy and thoughtful retrospective that the format of a journal entry at the end of each day or two provides.The reader s growing ability to understand Charlie and Charlie s attempts to understand himself touch on the exploration of alienness and human reactions to it that underpin so many great science fiction stories Highly recommended