- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (January 13, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1857989384
- ISBN-13: 978-1857989380
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.7 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 222 g
- Customer reviews: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13.850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Flowers For Algernon Paperback – 13 January 2000
A tale that is convincing, suspectful and touching * New York Times * Strikingly original * Publishers Weekly * A narrative tour de force, very moving, beautiful and remorseless in its simple logic * Science Fiction, 100 Best Novels * Unflinchingly honest . . . it will make you reflect on your own life . . . and completely and utterly break your heart * Guardian Online * Excellent . . . extremely moving * The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction * A timeless tearjerker * Independent * A masterpiece of poignant brilliance . . . heartbreaking, and utterly, completely brilliant * Guardian * This is one of the greats: a story and a central character that have stayed with me for thirty years, from the first moment I picked it up * Conn Iggulden *
About the Author
Daniel Keyes (1927-2014) Born in 1927 Daniel Keyes joined the US merchant marine aged 17. He won the Hugo for the short story that Flowers for Algernon was based on and the Nebula for the novel itself. He has a masters degree in English and American literature and is a Professor of English and Creative writing. He died in June, 2014.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In case you don’t know what the book is about, here is a brief synopsis. Charlie was a mentally challenged young man who wanted nothing more than to be smarter than he was. He volunteered for an experimental surgery that was supposed to increase his intelligence. The surgery had previously only been done on mice, and Algernon the mouse was the result of an earlier operation. When Charlie saw how Algernon navigated a maze with ease, he was convinced that the operation would be successful.
Charlie’s surgery was also a success, but his ever increasing intelligence caused difficulties in his relationships. His “friends” at work found out very quickly that he was no longer a target for their teasing, to which he had always been oblivious. They were so uncomfortable that they complained to the owner of the bakery he had been working at for years. He was let go.
He tried having relationships with women, but his emotional intelligence had not progressed on the scale of his intellect. The teacher who had taught him for years ultimately ended their budding relationship, because he was so far ahead of her intellectually, she could no longer keep up.
He reached a point at which he understood that his improvement was only temporary. He watched Algernon regress until all his progress was gone. Then Charlie himself began that backward slide.
I was heartbroken to see his realization that the people he thought were his “friends” were being cruel to him all along. Increased awareness and understanding brought him nothing but pain. I was almost thankful at the end when he reached a point of being somewhat stable, even though he may not have been even as intelligent as he was when he started.
I asked myself if he would have truly consented to the surgery if he had known what would happen to him afterwards. Did he actually have capacity to consent?
I don’t know if I was supposed to wish that increasing intelligence was a possibility for people with mental challenges, but I finished the book with a feeling of discomfort that his life was seen on the same level as that of a mouse in the eyes of the people performing the experiment.
It was ultimately a book that raised a lot of questions in my head and heart. There aren’t many answers to be found–just more questions.
As someone who's struggled with mental illness, confusing limitations, and my place in the world, as well as someone who later got me/cfs and lost even more independence, I relate so much to this book... Even though the main character is developmentally disabled, there's so much insight in this book.
I'll tell you, the end will seem sad at first, but has with it its own wisdom and inspiration. Reminding us like all things in this world, bittersweet is still sweet.
I hate sad endings to an extreme, but i don't regret reading this book.
Ironically, in Charlie's lostness, he found the wisdom he searched for all along & the journey is well worth the read!
A retarded man is given an operation to increase his intelligence. Algernon, a mouse, is given the same operation.
What makes the tale particularly poignant is the quotation at the beginning in which it is noted that one can be blinded either by going from darkness to light or from light to darkness--and others should not laugh at the traveller regardless of direction.
On one level the tale is simple. On another, it addresses emotional v intellectual growth, the complexity of families, the issue of how those who appear different are treated, and the question of what is ultimately important.
This is a classic, "must read" book for everyone.
One caveat is that it should not be enjoyed as an audio book alone, because much of the protagonist's development is given by the spelling and phrasing of his journal entries. Audio book plus print (as I read it this time) is wonderful.
A wonderful book that everyone should know