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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book with yellowed, brittle pages has been in my bookshelf more than forty years. Narration by Jeff Woodman brought the book alive, again with the lump in my throat listened. Read morePublished 21 hours ago by TC
Very impressed with the author's ability to tell this story in such a believable manner in first person via "Progress Reports" from the main character. Read morePublished 5 days ago by ILuvGoldDogs
This book makes you aware that you should treat others how you want to be treated. It's haunting. I've never read anything like it. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Keisha Jones
This novel was hopeful and very sad at times. It tells the story of a man who wants nothing more than to become smart so that people will like him. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Kora87
An unintentional horror story and intentional tragedy about a retarded man who undergoes surgery to become smarter. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Red
I was expecting something quite different from Flowers for Algernon.
I first found out about it for the poem. Read more
Interesting idea, nicely narrated, creates very vivid images. Some recommend it as good to read especially during school. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Lucian Pintilie - LP
Just from the title, I knew this book would have a dark/depressing component to it but I had heard many good things about this book from my friends so I took the gamble and bought... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Gotham