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Flowers for Algernon

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Overview

When we first meet Charlie he is about to embark on a compelling but dangerous journey from retardation to genius. He has only a vague understanding of what will happen, but he is aware that knowledge and the ability to write are of paramount importance. So he doesn't hesitate for a moment to cooperate in a radical experiment designed to increase his intelligence, the key - he hopes - to being valued as a human being and to being loved. Daniel Keyes's powerful and highly original story of a young man whose quest ...
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Flowers for Algernon

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Overview

When we first meet Charlie he is about to embark on a compelling but dangerous journey from retardation to genius. He has only a vague understanding of what will happen, but he is aware that knowledge and the ability to write are of paramount importance. So he doesn't hesitate for a moment to cooperate in a radical experiment designed to increase his intelligence, the key - he hopes - to being valued as a human being and to being loved. Daniel Keyes's powerful and highly original story of a young man whose quest for intelligence and knowledge parallels that of Algernon (the mouse who is an earlier subject of a similar experiment) remains unique in imaginative literature. We follow Charlie Gordon's mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. We watch with excitement as he becomes the focus of attention by the scientific world, his intellectual capacities far surpassing those of the psychologists and neurosurgeons who engineered his metamorphosis. We also follow the progress of his romance with two women, one who knew him before the experiment as well as with another, who knows him only as the attractive, bright, and sympathetic man he has become. And, finally, we hope against hope that what happens suddenly, unexpectedly, to Algernon will not happen to Charlie.

Mentally retarded Charlie Gordon participates in an experiment which turns him into a genius but only temporarily.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON
"A tale that is convincing, suspenseful and touching."—The New York Times
"An ingeniously touching story . . . Moving . . . Intensely real."—The Baltimore Sun
New York Times Book Review
A tale that is convincing, suspectful and touching...
Palm Beach Post-Times
This novel should be on your 'must read' list.
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON
"A tale that is convincing, suspenseful and touching."—The New York Times
"An ingeniously touching story . . . Moving . . . Intensely real."—The Baltimore Sun
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156030304
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 17,372
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Keyes (1927 - 2014) was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Brooklyn College. He was the author of eight books, including the classic Flowers for Algernon , first published in 1966, which would go on to sell more than five million copies and inspire the Oscar-winning film Charly . He also worked as a merchant seaman, a fiction editor, a high school teacher, and as a university professor at Ohio University, where he was honored at Professor Emeritus in 2000. He won the Hugo and Nebula awards for his work and was chosen as an Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2000.

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Read an Excerpt

Flowers for Algernon


By Daniel Keyes

Bantam Books

Copyright © 1984 Daniel Keyes
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0553274503

progris riport 1 martch 3

Dr Strauss says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir and evrey thing that happins to me from now on. I dont no why but he says its importint so they will see if they can use me. I hope they use me becaus Miss Kinnian says mabye they can make me smart. I want to be smart. My name is Charlie Gordon I werk in Donners bakery where Mr Donner gives me 11 dollers a week and bred or cake if I want. I am 32 yeres old and next munth is my brithday. I tolld dr Strauss and perfesser Nemur I cant rite good but he says it dont matter he says I shud rite just like I talk and like I rite compushishens in Miss Kinnians class at the beekmin collidge center for retarted adults where I go to lern 3 times a week on my time off. Dr. Strauss says to rite a lot evrything I think and evrything that happins to me but I cant think anymor because I have nothing to rite so I will close for today...yrs truly Charlie Gordon.

progris riport 2-martch 4

I had a test today. I think I faled it and I think mabye now they wont use me. What happind is I went to Prof Nemurs office on my lunch time like they said and his secertery took me to a place that said psych dept on the door with a long hall and alot of littel rooms with onley a desk and chares. And a nice man was in one of the rooms and he had some wite cards with ink spilld all over them. He sed sit down Charlie and make yourself cunfortible and rilax. He had a wite coat like a docter but I dont think he was no docter because he dint tell me to opin my mouth and say ah. All he had was those wite cards. His name is Burt. I fergot his last name because I dont remembir so good.

I dint know what he was gonna do and I was holding on tite to the chair like sometimes when I go to a dentist onley Burt aint no dentist neither but he kept telling me to rilax and that gets me skared because it always means its gonna hert.

So Burt sed Charlie what do you see on this card. I saw the spilld ink and I was very skared even tho I got my rabits foot in my pockit because when I was a kid I always faled tests in school and I spilld ink to.

I tolld Burt I saw ink spilld on a wite card. Burt said yes and he smild and that maid me feel good. He kept terning all the cards and I tolld him somebody spilld ink on all of them red and black. I thot that was a easy test but when I got up to go Burt stoppd me and said now sit down Charlie we are not thru yet. Theres more we got to do with these cards. I dint understand about it but I remembir Dr Strauss said do anything the testor telld me even if it dont make no sense because thats testing.

I dont remembir so good what Burt said but I remembir he wantid me to say what was in the ink. I dint see nothing in the ink but Burt sed there was picturs there. I coudnt see no picturs. I reely tryed to see. I holded the card up close and then far away. Then I said if I had my eye glassis I coud probaly see better I usully only ware my eyeglassis in the movies or to watch TV but I sed maybe they will help me see the picturs in the ink. I put them on and I said now let me see the card agan I bet I find it now.

I tryed hard but I still coudnt find the picturs I only saw the ink. I tolld Burt mabey I need new glassis. He rote somthing down on a paper and I got skared of faling the test. So I tolld him it was a very nice pictur of ink with pritty points all around the eges but he shaked his head so that wasnt it neither. I asked him if other pepul saw things in the ink and he sed yes they imagen picturs in the inkblot. He tolld me the ink on the card was calld inkblot.

Burt is very nice and he talks slow like Miss Kinnian dose in her class where I go to lern reeding for slow adults. He explaned me it was a raw shok test. He sed pepul see things in the ink. I said show me where. He dint show me he just kept saying think imagen theres something on the card. I tolld him I imaggen a inkblot. He shaked his head so that wasnt rite eather. He said what does it remind you of pretend its something. I closd my eyes for a long time to pretend and then I said I pretend a bottel of ink spilld all over a wite card. And thats when the point on his pencel broke and then we got up and went out.

I dont think I passd the raw shok test.

3d progris riport

martch 5-Dr Strauss and prof Nemur say it dont matter about the ink on the cards. I tolld them I dint spill the ink on them and I coudnt see anything in the ink. They said maybe they will still use me. I tolld Dr Strauss that Miss Kinnian never gave me tests like that only riting and reeding. He said Miss Kinnian tolld him I was her bestist pupil in the Beekman School for retarted adults and I tryed the hardist becaus I reely wantd to lern I wantid it more even then pepul who are smarter even then me.

Dr Strauss askd me how come you went to the Beekman School all by yourself Charlie. How did you find out about it. I said I dont remembir.

Prof Nemur said but why did you want to lern to reed and spell in the frist place. I tolld him because all my life I wantid to be smart and not dumb and my mom always tolld me to try and lern just like Miss Kinnian tells me but its very hard to be smart and even when I lern something in Miss Kinnians class at the school I ferget alot.

Dr Strauss rote some things on a peice of paper and prof Nemur talkd to me very sereus. He said you know Charlie we are not shure how this experamint will werk on pepul because we onley tried it up to now on animils. I said thats what Miss Kinnian tolld me but I dont even care if it herts or anything because Im strong and I will werk hard.

I want to get smart if they will let me. They said they got to get permissen from my familie but my uncle Herman who use to take care of me is ded and I dont rimember about my familie. I dint see my mother or father or my littel sister Norma for a long long long time. Mabye their ded to. Dr. Strauss askd me where they use to live. I think in brooklin. He sed they will see if mabye they can find them.

I hope I dont have to rite to much of these progris riports because it takes along time and I get to sleep very late and Im tired at werk in the morning. Gimpy hollered at me because I droppd a tray full of rolles I was carrying over to the oven. They got derty and he had to wipe them off before he put them in to bake. Gimpy hollers at me all the time when I do something rong, but he reely likes me because hes my frend. Boy if I get smart wont he be serprised.


Copyright © 1966, 1959 by Daniel Keyes
Copyright renewed 1994, 1987 by Daniel Keyes

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part
of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Continues...


Excerpted from Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes Copyright © 1984 by Daniel Keyes. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1023 )
Rating Distribution

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(545)

4 Star

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(153)

2 Star

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(53)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1024 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 21, 2010

    Flowers For Algernon Book Review

    Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes is a powerful, original story and remains as relevant today as when it was written. I first read this book in the 70's and loved it, and I again "found" the book when my teen daughter read it and found it equally touching. The story starts with a mentally challenged man named Charlie Gordon, who is made fun of and bullied. The author does a great job creating sympathy in the reader's mind for this kind spirited man, who considers the bullies his friends. All Charlie wants is to be "normal". When Charlie is given an opportunity to become smarter, he takes it because he believes he could be happier. Soon he does become smarter, but instead of becoming happier he realizes that his friends were not laughing with him, but laughing at him. With intelligence, Charlie is able to see a cruelty in people that he was previously unaware existed. A most poignant moment in the book is when Charlie realizes the experiment may not be successful. Charlie has to grapple with the quality of his existence, and whether his temporary abilities will be worth the pain of loss if his intelligence turns out to be temporary. I would most definitely recommend this book because Daniel Keyes will create such strong feelings within you, the story will stay with you for years to come.

    64 out of 69 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    WOW!!!!

    It is about a 37 year old man that is mentally retarded. I talks about some things he has to go through until he becomes smart like other people. I think the author's purpose is to show how important it is to just like who you are, and that it's not good, funny, or cool to pick on kids that are mentally retarded. I feel that this story is very good because it show that everyone is the same honestly and that it's not funny to pick on people for who they are because it's not their fault.
    Some of the main points I found that stood out to me was how he felt his emotions, and how they varied as the story goes on. When I paid attention to the how he felt about most things I compared to how I would feel if this was happening to me. It made me realize how important it is to appreciate your talents. A quote that I think is very important is how he took up for the dishwasher when everyone was laughing at him "Shut up! Leave him alone. It's not his fault he can't understand! He can't help what he is. But he is still a human being!"
    Personally I think the book approved all the goals and achievements, due to the fact that it shows just how difficult it really is to be in someone else's shoes when it comes to being picked on about their disabilities. It show just how hard it is to live with being mentally retarded, and having everyone picking in you and you having no idea of what is going on. It also shows the emotions that Charlie goes through.

    17 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Didn't enjoy it. Flowers for Algernon is a very well-written boo

    Didn't enjoy it.
    Flowers for Algernon is a very well-written book with a unique story line. However, I did not like this book. Nothing about this book made me enjoy reading it. The story line was too depressing. I do not like reading about a mentally disabled boy who struggles in life. Even though Charlie's IQ level did raise, he regressed. Overall, it was just hard to dedicate my full attention towards such a dull, sad book.

    14 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    What a journey!

    Such an amazing book that truly made me feel for the main character. I would highly reccommend this book to anyone and it will definitely be one that I re-read!

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    Review-Flowers for Algernon

    Daniel Keyes "Flowers for Algernon" is a beautiful written book. This book talks about an experimental surgery that can increase intelligence, that has been proved to make one mouse called Algernon. Into a maze-running, mouse-genius. But the surgery has never been tried on a human. Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled adult with a very low IQ has been specially chosen for this experiment. Who tells the story from his point of view through daily progress reports. Early reports show Charlie excitement to learn and brightly display his interactions with Algernon as they form a bond for each other.
    As the treatment goes on, Charlie increases his intelligence and realizes he is attracted with Alice. They form a deep relationship with one another. While Algernon's behavior changes drastically; he forgotten a lot of things he had learned, he was solving problems in a primitive level. He reacts differently and refuses to do the experiment, so he curls up in a white puff. Unfortunately, Algernon deteriorates and dies. The same thing happens to Charlie and begins to forget almost every thing he once learned. His last request is to put flowers in Algernon's grave.
    Flowers for Algernon is no ordinary book. What I liked about this book is that it is wonderfully written and makes you think about treating people. Even if you're smart it doesn't mean you should treat people in a rude matter. Other books I would like to read from Daniel Keyes is the book called "Algernon, Charlie, and I: A Writer's Journey." I recommend this book for sci-fi readers, for ages 12 and up because there is some adult content. It is a must read!

    10 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    My Review Flowers For Algernon was a very well-rounded book, unt

    My Review
    Flowers For Algernon was a very well-rounded book, until the ending. The ending was the only part that i did not like about it because Charlie, the main character, started regressing after all that he had been through. If the end had another alternate ending, it would deserve all 5-out-of-5 stars. Besides the ending, the whole book was very well. It had a well structure and storyline. Everybody should read this book because it teaches you that God has made you a certain way and everybody is different in their own special way.

    9 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    Worth Reading Flowers for Algernon gives you different emotions

    Worth Reading
    Flowers for Algernon gives you different emotions to deal with. It is a great story about the struggles of a man with a very low I.Q. At the beginning you feel sympathy for the man, Charlie Gordan. As the story goes on you begin to feel excietment for him as his I.Q. rises. At the end you start to feel very sorry for him because of is I.Q. dropping back down. Throughout the story he is accompanied by a lab mouse named Algernon who becomes his best friend. This story is very inspirational story that can teach you many life lessons. I think this is a great book that tells a story of friendship, the importance of understanding one another, and love.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    I read this book when I was 12.

    But oh, did I love it. I re-read it over and over and finally understood most parts that I couldn't understand before. I was so young back then.

    Now I'm 23 and I still recommend this book, I love the writing style of the author and made me love Charlie as well. I cried at the end of the story when I first read it. Very touching.

    This book is worth a read.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    This story was good but not my favorite. Throughout the story he

    This story was good but not my favorite. Throughout the story he was picked on and made fun of. This story did not keep my attention. The book did show that people should have been better to him because of his problems. However, I did not find reading about a mentally impared man did not find my interest.

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    Flowers for Algernon is about a thirty seven year old man that i

    Flowers for Algernon is about a thirty seven year old man that is mentally challenged. Flowers for Algernon explains how Charlie Gordon and a mouse Algernon contempt to create a relationship. Charlie Gordon has a theory of becoming smart like other humans. He was picked on for the task he lives for. Reading this book make others, and I feel that you can not judge people from how the act, because honestly, they can come out to be really sweet and kind. Personally, I believe also that the book approved all the goals and achievements, due to the fact it may be rather harsh for someone who gets emotionally thrown around. I will not give the common topic of the book away but, to I, I would not say I loved the book, but if you're interested for a emotional and touching book I would recommend Flowers for Algernon.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Book Review Flowers For Algernon was personally not my favorite

    Book Review
    Flowers For Algernon was personally not my favorite book. I didn't enjoy this book as much as others. The book seemed very depressing to me. The ony upside of the story is, it teaches others not to pick on people that are mentally disabled because it can really hurt them. It's sad that all people did was make fun of Charlie when he couldn't control what was wrong with him. All he wanted to be was "normal". I personally think some people should read it just to see what mentally disabled people go through. Chairlie tried so hard after the surgery to progress but once he got smart, he started to regress. The story is all together depressing and sad.

    5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    i dont read

    i dont read

    5 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Happy and sad at the same time

    I love the journalistic writing style of Flowers For Algernon. It really helps to make you connect with the character Charlie. If you like stories that make you think you will like Flowers For Algernon.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    Flowers for Algernon is about, a 37 years olds man that is menta

    Flowers for Algernon is about, a 37 years olds man that is mentally challenged. This book talks about an experimental surgery that can increase intelligence, that has been proved to make one mouse called Algernon. The experiment had never been tried on a human. Charlie gordon a mentally challenge adult had been chosen for the surgery. The way the story in first person through a daily report.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Read The Promise by Christina Reklaitis!

    This was a great book. You should now try the Promise by Christina Reklaitis. Its another amazing read that you are sure to love :)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    It was an okay story, but I honestly did not care for it that m

    It was an okay story, but I honestly did not care for it that much. I liked the setting and what all took place, but I have read better stories before. The charcters played a great role in the story and also in the movie. I enjoyed the story overall. I feel that this story is very good because it show that everyone is the same honestly and that it's not funny to pick on people for who they are because it's not their fault.
    ``````````````````

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Flowers For Algernon is a wonderful book to read. I recmand this

    Flowers For Algernon is a wonderful book to read. I recmand this book for ages up to 12 and older to read. This book talks about how people have difternt IQ's. Like for Charile he has a very low IQ. Like for me I may have a high one. Charile & Algernon had make a geart pair by working together. They both work had to win during the maze. When he works at the bakerie those people make fun of him and that isn't right. Just because there is something wrong inside of his head don't mean that you can go and make fun of someone and hurt there fellings. No one really did not care what they did to poor Charile until he got smart. Then when he stared loseing his ablity to be smart, he cought on to what the doctor was saing at the persation. He got up there on stage and made that doctor look like a fool. He was tried of being lied to. I would really had been tried of b eing lied to too/.


    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2011

    Very dumb-it is really crazy

    Well Flower's for Algernon is a really stupid story. I don't like it because it doesn't really teach you anything. It doesn't even make sense. The man in the story doesn't even know how to read or spell and people make fun of him.
    Well the man's name is Charlie. He is really stupid and people love to make fun of him. Then he meets this mouse named Algernon and they race to see if Charlie can beat him. Algernon had surgery and he became really smart. The afterwards Charlie had surgery and he became really smart. Then later on down the road Algernon became stupid again and Charlie also became stupid again. The later on after that the mouse dies. Then Charlie always goes and puts flowers on Algernon's grave.

    3 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Flowers For Algernon

    I read this book 2 years ago for english and loved it! I found this book touching and emotional. I remember that it's about a man named Charlie who has a very low IQ, and has been choosen to take part in an exparimental surgery that could make him smarter...
    I loved this book!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    decent book

    This book is a great look into how we treat others less fortunate. It has its ups and downs and gets sad at the end for numerous reasons. I would recommend this book for its values and look into what the handicapped experience but it isnt a quick read (even as short as it is) that you just cant put down. I read a lot but this seemed to take me a while.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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