Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon

by Daniel Keyes

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Oscar-winning film Charly starring Cliff Robertson and Claire Bloom-a mentally challenged man receives an operation that turns him into a genius...and introduces him to heartache.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780151001637
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/17/1995
Series: HBJ Book Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 143,357
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About 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.

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.


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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Flowers for Algernon 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1121 reviews.
PhronsieRose More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
skye_aerith More than 1 year ago
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.
kms99 More than 1 year ago
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.
shelbylynnx28 More than 1 year ago
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.
MShauntay More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
smitchell1 More than 1 year ago
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.
Battleblade More than 1 year ago
What a phenomenal story. Very heart wrenching. If you are an emotional reader prepare for tears. I have been thinking about this story since I finished reading over a week ago. Applause for Daniel Keyes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing story. I read the original at school, but I'm sure this is just as good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. I mean, just wow. No words can really describe this short story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Impacted my heart greatly. Wow, totally new and fresh and different reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. You should now try the Promise by Christina Reklaitis. Its another amazing read that you are sure to love :)
MrSmoothJ25 More than 1 year ago
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.
YOUR-MOM More than 1 year ago
The story "Flowers for Algernon" is an exceptional story about a 37 year old mentally retarded man named Charlie Gordon who is given the oppourtunity to become a genius because of an experiment that was first tested on a small white mouse, Algernon. After the experimant was done to Algernon, he became smart enough to move through elaborate mazes in a matter of seconds. The experiment, after done to Charlie, makes him smarter than even those who did the experiment. He eventually begins to realize, because of signs shown by Algernon, that his brain is beginning to deterierate. As he grows back to his retarded self, Algernon meets a sad death. Eventually it is as he used to be.
Gabriela_lms More than 1 year ago
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!
London More than 1 year ago
This is the kind of book that you never forget. Some may even say that it is life changing. The book is comprised of a series of reports written by a mentally retarded man Charlie Gordon. This man is writing these reports because he is has been selected as the first human to undergo surgery that will possibly raise his intelligence by artificial means and by writing these reports the doctors will be able to accurately mark his progress. Algernon is the laboratory mouse that the surgery had been preformed on previously. The novel takes you through the drastic changes that occur in his life, but it also shows how the people in Charlie's life are also effected. While reading this novel I was at times overcome with emotion but at other times I was at the edge of my seat do to the suspense. As the book progresses the style of writing also changes due to Charlie's current mental state. I feel that this change of the style of writing used by the author dramatically changes the was the story is told, mainly because you feel like you are progressing with Charlie as he improves. When Algernon displays erratic behavior you do not know what to expect whatsoever. This is a classic that I feel should be read by all. This is now one of my favorite books of all time. I would hate to spoil this wonderful book by ruining the ending, so I will conclude by recommending that you read this book AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Flowers for Algernon and Daniel Keyes as the author. I’d suggest that people 10+ read this book so that you can understand some of Charlie’s reading flaws. Charlie Gordon wants to be smart. He is 37 years old. He lives in a small apartment along with a mouse who he later meets, Algernon. Charlie feels really dumb. Charlie Gordon’s only dream is to be smart, but with smartness comes a coincidence. Charlie later on becomes smart, but after several months becomes dumb once again. He starts to forget a lot of things. He leaves so that people don’t make fun of him. I think the book isn’t too interesting, but I love the movie. It is a pretty funny movie. I like Algernon because he is just so little. I think that Charlie loves Ms. Kinnian. Charlie becomes dumb again so don’t ever wish for smartness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IF you had the opportunity to change something that will change your life not knowing whether the results would be successful or not, would you still take advantage of that opportunity? In “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes the author introduces this science fiction book with a strong human story about science and relationships. The main character, Charlie is a 32- year old with an IQ of 68 who works at a bakery . The book is written as a series of journal entries in which Charlie writes them. Words are misspelled, ideas are vague, and relationships are simple. Charlie Gordon’s life is about to change. He was born with as unusually low IQ and  is going to take part of an experiment that will change his life.Charlie gets permission from his family in order for him to get the experimental operation. This operation becomes a research for a university in which Dr. Staggers takes in charge of. This operation initiates with a white mouse named Algernon. Charlie starts racing Algernon with a maze of his own. At the beginning of the book Algernon always beats Charlie in which makes Charlie think more about how he wants to be like everyone else and become smart. He brings his hopes up with this operation. When he finally gets the operation many things happen but Algernon gets the same type of operation first in order for doctors to see if the operation will be successful or not.Charlie has to write progress reports so the doctors can keep track of what is going on in his head. Finally little by little Charlie starts to become smarter and he reaches an IQ of 185 in matter of weeks. Now Charlie soars Algernon and wins all the time when him and Algernon race in the maze. When Charlie becomes more intelligent he realizes many things that hurt him emotionally. Like that fact that he realized that the people he called friends laughed at him because of his disability. During that period of time he also starts to realize and have flashbacks about his childhood. That makes him remember how his mother was ashamed of him and how he was treated by her. But now that he has had this operation he is able to look back at their situations and realize what was going on. The smarter he becomes the more he starts to realize things that affect him emotionally. Charlie learns what true love is when he starts to fall in love with his teacher Alice. He also learns what physical love is as he comes in contact with his artistic neighbor, Fay. Charlie also learns the pain relational love with friends and family when they back away from him.This book starts with a slow plot that becomes dull because it then becomes predictable with what the main character is going to say. This changes when the plot picks up after the operation happens and becomes more riveting. That is when most of the interesting parts of the book are and many things happen to Charlie. This book has a very unique because of the way this story is written that makes it effective. This book is written exactly as Charlie thinks and talks. At times this book is a bit slow, because his transformation takes time but overall it is a great story with a great purpose that the author brings up since it can be about to many things. Figurative language in this book is great to the point of imagining every detail. It becomes very clever. The characters are all interesting they mostly all play an interesting role in the book and they all have something to do with Charlie. Some more significant than others. Most of the characters are complex and credible specially the main character. That is because if his whole transformation. The purpose of this book is that science doesn't always solve everything because its not always going to be effective. It's also to value navy things in life. This book has many life lessons in which we can all learn from. It's a great book and a classic. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Flowers for Algernon will spur your emotions, this book is moving from beginning to end. A man fights to learn, despite his “special” condition, so that he may be accepted and loved by his “friends” and others. His tenacity to learn leads him to be part of a surgery not knowing the danger he would put himself though. He soon starts to develop not only the ability to remember, but starts to think of himself as an individual, like a child does. It’s beautiful to see this transformation in him. This book is a must read for anyone who feels discouraged.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this story was the best story that i've ever read before about the two mouses and how the white mouse ended up dieing that my me cry and get pist me what did you think about this story?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So my school read this book a while ago and i absolutely loved it. It was a great raed and would recomend it for fundamental or school relate reading. Hha what other read is there?