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Flowers for Algernon Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1984

4.6 out of 5 stars 342 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, Mar 1 1984
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (March 1 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553274503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553274509
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 342 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,770,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Daniel Keyes wrote little SF but is highly regarded for one classic, Flowers for Algernon. As a 1959 novella it won a Hugo Award; the 1966 novel-length expansion won a Nebula. The Oscar-winning movie adaptation Charly (1968) also spawned a 1980 Broadway musical.

Following his doctor's instructions, engaging simpleton Charlie Gordon tells his own story in semi-literate "progris riports." He dimly wants to better himself, but with an IQ of 68 can't even beat the laboratory mouse Algernon at maze-solving:

I dint feel bad because I watched Algernon and I lernd how to finish the amaze even if it takes me along time.

I dint know mice were so smart.

Algernon is extra-clever thanks to an experimental brain operation so far tried only on animals. Charlie eagerly volunteers as the first human subject. After frustrating delays and agonies of concentration, the effects begin to show and the reports steadily improve: "Punctuation, is? fun!" But getting smarter brings cruel shocks, as Charlie realizes that his merry "friends" at the bakery where he sweeps the floor have all along been laughing at him, never with him. The IQ rise continues, taking him steadily past the human average to genius level and beyond, until he's as intellectually alone as the old, foolish Charlie ever was--and now painfully aware of it. Then, ominously, the smart mouse Algernon begins to deteriorate...

Flowers for Algernon is a timeless tear-jerker with a terrific emotional impact. --David Langford


"A tale that is convincing, suspectful and  touching..." -- The New York  Times.

"Fascinating, agonizing... Superb."  --Birmingham News.

"This novel should be on your 'must read'  list." -- Palm Beach Post-Times.  

"Strikingly original..." --  Publishers'  Weekly.

"Absorbing... Immensely original... Going to be read  for a long time to come." -- Library  Journal.

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Sept. 15 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are those who have attempted the topic before, to show the good or ill about artificially increasing a man's intelligence, and they have all fallen by the wayside, forgotten entries in the arena of literature, all because they forgot one factor: love.

In Flowers for Algernon, Keyes shows us a man who is jolted out of his comfortable world of stupidity and finds his friends who were not as good as he thought they were, that all he thought was nothing more than a veiled illusion. And he copes, as everyone must, he copes and finds love and comes to term with himself.

Just in time for him to realize that his intelligence is only temporary. In the most heart wrenching scenes of the novel, the reader must witness his intelligence fading rapidly, each journal entry a little less exact, the spelling a tiny bit worse, until the book comes full circle and he is back where he started from, only having a wisdom that he cannot understand, or comprehend.
Touching, moving, Flowers for Algernon is all that and more, it is an epic of emotion, an opera of getting what you want most and then realizing that you might have been better off.
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By Mys M TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 23 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been hearing quite a bit about this book lately even though it is not new. Flowers for Algernon was written by Daniel Keyes, published in 1959, has sold over 5 million copies, won the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, and inspired an Academy Award-winning movie called Charly. I had never read the book nor had I seen the movie but I was intrigued by everything I read and decided to read the book first.

Charlie Gordon has an unusually low IQ. He works at a bakery mopping up the kitchen, the store and the washrooms. He thinks his co-workers are his friends but they set him up for stupid pranks and then laugh at him. Charlie, however, always maintains an easy-going attitude. He hasn't seen his mother, father, or sister in many years; his parents put him in a home when he was a teenager because they couldn't deal with his lack of progress at school.

Professor Nemur and Dr. Strauss of the Beekman University have met Charlie through his night school teacher and think Charlie is the perfect candidate for an experiment based on their theory that a certain operation on the brain will enable anyone to improve their IQ markedly, even to that of genius. The other half of the experiment is Algernon, a lab mouse, who has the same operation and is able to perform exceptionally at racing through mazes to find the treat at the end.

We follow Charlie's amazing increase in IQ through the journal he keeps as part of the experiment. In the beginning, he writes simple sentences with phonetic spelling, low vocabulary, and almost no punctuation. As the story progresses, he becomes a fluent writer, an able linguist, and, indeed, goes beyond the level of those using him for their experiment.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was touching and meaningful. If you are a fan of faster paced books, this novel may not be for you. Flowers For Algernon moves relatively slowly, and readers grow attached to the main characters. Within the novel lies different messages concerning morals and everyday struggles.
Unique, and unlike any other books I have read before. You may want to pick it up and have a read.
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Flowers for Algernon is an imposing book where the magic of our dreams, the cruelty of life, and THE REAL FACE OF OUR SOCIETY are shown. I loved this book, because I think it gives us a little of our own medicine; it shows us that we feel sorry for people that might not have a high IQ but still innocent and happy, people that trust others, and people that always have a smile on their faces; when we really should be feeling sorry for ourselves. We suffer, we cry, we die of hunger, we die of hate, we not often have a smile on our face. Charlie, he dreamed to be smart, he fought for it just to be loved and to share with some friends, he never gave up, and he followed his dreams to the end. We should follow his steps and go for what we want even more if we can, because this kid didn't it without knowing a lot of stuff. This book REALLY made a different in my life; I didn't like to read and now I'm inspired. I am reading Of Shadow and Love of Isabel Allende and Emma of Jane Austen. READ IT AND I BET YOU WILL LOVE IT AS EVRYBODY ELSE! Lisette Oliwkowicz Caracas, Venezuela
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Flowers For Algernon is a very sweet story which I had trouble reading again because I knew what would happen to the main character, Charlie, at the end. I first read this when I was in 8th grade, and this was the book that my teacher assigned the class to read. For that, I'm glad. Mind you, this book doesn't have any adventure or action in it, even though some places claim that this is Sci-Fi, but its a very touching story that you can't fully appreciate unless you read it the whole way through, if you have the patience. The first part of the book is kinda hard to read because Charlie's spelling is really off, but as he progresses into an even smarter person his writing improves greatly. I thought it was really neat how the book was written like a compilation of Charlie's progress reports, it makes this feel like less of a book and more of something that really happened. There ARE some parts in this book that most would consider inappropriate for young kids, but most mature older kids(like 13 year olds) could handle this. As another person mentioned, these scenes are crucial to the story, and aren't done dis-tastefully. If you have the time and patience to read this book, I'd suggest you to pick this up or check out the library for this book. Its a really nice story.
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