Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecedented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ, he has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery that researchers hope will increase his intelligence-a procedure that has already been highly successful when tested on a lab mouse named Algernon.

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?

Daniel Keyes did a great job telling the growth and decline of Charlie Gordon through the medium of his journals or progress reports that he is required to write as part of the experiment. The earliest logs show a na├»ve and simple Charlie with misspellings and grammatical mistakes. Charlie really doesn’t grasp what is going on around him, yet he wants people to like him. People do, even friends who laugh at him, because of his willingness to learn as much as he can despite his limited intelligence. As he gains in intelligence, his spelling and punctuation become more correct, and he begins to use a more advanced vocabulary. He also begins to be less likable and more arrogant. As Charlie begins to revert to his earlier state, the language he uses in writing the progress reports also deteriorates. This last section of the book is heartbreaking, and I was emotional at this point. There are few things that most people dread more than losing their minds. Even death is seen as preferable, and fear of death is often really fear of oblivion or mindlessness. Keyes is very good at expressing Charlie’s dread and fear as he sinks back into subnormal intelligence.

If you’d like to read this its availabe on Amazon Kindle Unlimited and in physical form.

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Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecedented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ, he has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery that researchers hope will increase his intelligence-a procedure that has already been highly successful when tested on a lab mouse named Algernon. As the treatment takes effect,…

The Bookish Dad