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Flowers For Algernon: The must-read literary science fiction masterpiece (S.F. MASTERWORKS) New Ed Edition, Kindle Edition
The classic novel about a daring experiment in human intelligence
'A masterpiece of poignant brilliance . . . heartbreaking, and utterly, completely brilliant' Guardian
'A timeless tearjerker' Independent
Charlie Gordon, IQ 68, is a floor sweeper and the gentle butt of everyone's jokes - until an experiment in the enhancement of human intelligence turns him into a genius.
But then Algernon, the mouse whose triumphal experimental transformation preceded his, fades and dies, and Charlie has to face the possibility that his salvation was only temporary.
Readers can't stop reading Flowers For Algernon:
'I am finding it hard to put into words the vast range of emotions I experienced while reading this tale of hope, perseverance, truth and humanity . . . I'm a huge fan of science fiction that doesn't seem too far away; something that I could imagine being just around the corner - and that's how I felt about Flowers for Algernon' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'You're watching Charlie, the main character, go through an experimental procedure that increases his IQ. The whole book, written in diary entries, let us see how it affects his life and how he struggles through it. I rarely cry while reading a book but I couldn't help myself here. It's a classic for a reason. Read it. You won't be able to put it down' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'Heartbreaking and beautiful. Required reading, as far as I am concerned' Wil Wheaton
'This book is extraordinary, one of my favorites. It is a fast read but is is very powerful and heartbreaking. I read it in the plane and I felt a little embarrassed when I started to weep at the end of the book' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'One of those stories I wish I would have read years earlier. It's simply marvellous. It's about the nature of intelligence and how intelligence can be divisive. It's a very emotional book' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Following his doctor's instructions, engaging simpleton Charlie Gordon tells his own story in a 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 realises 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 ...
A timeless tear-jerker with a terrific emotional impact, Flowers for Algernon is the 25th choice in the millennium SF Masterworks series. --David Langford--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From the Back Cover
As the treatment takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment appears to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon suddenly deteriorates. Will the same happen to Charlie?
WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD AND THE NEBULA AWARD
The classic novel that inspired the Academy Award-winning movie Charly
Daniel Keyes, the author of eight books, was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Brooklyn College. Professor emeritus at Ohio University, he lives in Boca Raton, Florida.
- ASIN : B009ZG6YPU
- Publisher : Gateway; New Ed edition (15 Nov. 2012)
- Language : English
- File size : 2747 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 228 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,155 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
About the authors
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 November 2020
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What i love about this book is that while the writing itself is simple and easy going, allowing the reader to just fall into the story without distraction, the story itself is incredible in its depth and scope.
I would definitely throw this book in with ‘Black Swan Green’ into the teenage education syllabus.
Essentially a man with an IQ of 70 is given an operation and turned into a genius after the incredible success of performing the same procedure on a white mouse named Algernon. But where an isolated laboratory mouse appears a total success, a human being with a very challenging past that the new found intelligence has to come to terms with while navigating his way into a new life that he is completely unprepared for in every way, is a totally different story altogether.
For the first 15 years of my life i lived with a very damaged heart and was extremely ill and disabled, only to have my heart fixed at 15 and then left to come to terms with all that had happened to me. Needless to say, it didn’t go very well. And reading this book about a child who was extremely mentally disabled who suddenly gets fixed brought a lot of those old feelings from my own experiences back. At one point i almost gave up reading it, it became so upsetting. But the book is so well written and i just had to keep going to find out what happens to Charlie. I’m glad i did.
There is so much truth in this book about the way people are and how they treat those they perceive as lesser than, and also those they perceive as more than. Add to all that, there are also many parallels between Charlie’s story and the changes between drug addiction and sobriety. Which, again, i know from experience. There is, quite simply, a great deal for everyone to learn from this book.
And there’s also so much in this book that leaves me looking forward to reading it again in the future — after its percolated through my conciousness for a while — as i really don’t think one reading can ever do it the justice it deserves.
And that ending…
"I just want to be smart like other pepul so I can have lots of frends."
Despite his low IQ of 68, he is trying really hard to learn and become smart. Charlie agrees to have an experimental brain surgery previously tested only on a mouse - Algernon. Throughout the experiment, Charlie writes daily reports to document his progress and shift to the other side of the intelligence spectrum. It was both fascinating and also emotional to read how Charlie's perception of people close to him started changing with his increasing IQ and growing self-awareness.
"I never knew before that Joe and Frank and the others liked to have me around just to make fun of me."
Charlie also notices that people start to behave differently around him once they realise he is no longer the dummy who sweeps the floors. They distance themselves as they don't recognise the new Charlie who lost his innocence and the friendly smiling face.
"I don't know what's worse, to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you've always wanted to be, and feel alone."
I can't quite believe this book was written in 1958. The story remains timeless and it's guaranteed it will break your heart and provoke many questions about humanity and our behaviour. Recommended to everyone.
This is the kind of Sci Fi I like.
Charlie has a low IQ, but he's not aggressive (in fact, he's very nice and kind) and has the urge to better himself. He undergoes an experimental treatment to increase his IQ. The mouse that the treatment was tested on before Charlie is Algernon. At the start of the book, Algernon is able to navigate a maze faster than Charlie.
The story is told through Charlie's notes/ diary that he has to keep for the experiment. You see him go from being well meaning and confused, to increasingly intelligent until he's passed everyone he knows. The scenes where he realises that the colleagues who he thought were his friends and were laughing with him, were actually laughing at him, is heart breaking. Actually, quite a lot of the book is heartbreaking. You feel anguish for Charlie as he was and for Charlie as he has become. It's an incredibly moving book, quite sad, but thought provoking. I will be thinking about this one for days. I'll probably re-read it.