Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Once again I’ve been knocked over the head by a book that I should have read long ago. Knowing that there are other books out there that I’ve missed is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night! This was a stunning read that made me bawl like a baby. If you haven’t had a chance to read this yet please do so. Please!

Flowers for Algernon
Short story published in 1959
Novel published in 1966
progris riport 1-martch 5, 1965

Dr. Strauss says I shud rite down what I think and evrey thing
that happins to me from now on, I dont know why but he says its
importint so they will see if they will use me. I hope they use me.
Miss Kinnian says maybe they can make me smart. I want to be
smart. My name is Charlie Gordon. I am 37 years old. I have
nuthing more to rite now so I will close for today.

“I was her bestist pupil in the Beckman School for retarted adults and I tryed the hardist becus I reely wantd to lern I wantid it more even then pepul who are smarter even then me.” 

“How strange it is that people of honest feelings and sensibility  who would not take advantage of a man born without arms or legs or eyes-how such people think nothing of abusing a man with low intelligence.” 

“Dr Strauss said I had something that was very good. He said I had a good motor-vation. I never ever knew I had that. I felt proud when he said that not every body with an eye-q of 68 had that thing. I don't know what it is or where I got it but he said Algernon had it too. Algernons motor-vation is the cheese they put in his box. But it cant be that because I didnt eat any cheese last week.” 
― Daniel KeyesFlowers for Algernon
I read this book in celebration of Banned Books Week and as part of The Classics Club challenge.
The Classics Club

25 thoughts on “Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

  1. My mom is a big science fiction fan. As a kid, I was less so. Probably because I was a kid. I remember this as one of the first books I took off of her shelves and read. And then I got it, exactly why sci-fi could be so darn good.


  2. I actually didn't realize that this was science fiction until hub discovered an NPR list of the top 100 science fiction books and had to read the entire list to me (\”honey, you should do a blog post about these and then host a challenge\” me: eyeroll).It's on my shelf–just have to pick it up. Seems I read the short story when I was in grade school but that would have been about 18 years ago.


  3. I haven't read it yet, though from the little I know about it, the way you've made this post, just full of quotes, says everything. Must read it someday.


  4. Ha ha, full of good ideas is he? As I said above I have such a problem with sci-fi, I know I'm all wrong about what it IS but I always think of it as not my thing. Which apparently isn't true because I loved this book!


  5. I love the quote you've chosen, they give a good impression of what to expect. Flowers for Algernon is one of those books that I know that I need to read, but never get around to doing so… need to amend that!


  6. It's funny to think of this as a science fiction book, because I read it twice, when I was in high school and maybe middle school, and really enjoyed the book, but never thought sci-fi. I wonder how I would feel as an adult reading it now! I remember it being insightful and sad. Have you seen the movie? I think we had to watch it in Psychology class in high school. I remember it being a decent representation of the book itself.


  7. I saw the movie for this and have been planning on reading the book for a very long time! It's funny how books we know we should read just sit there on our TBR pile being passed up for years, isn't it? It's good to be reminded of these things. 🙂


  8. I haven't seen the movie but I'd like to. I checked with my library and they don't have it. It's an oldie so I don't know if I'll be able to find it at any of the video stores here but I'm keeping my eyes open for it!


  9. I was inspired to finally read this when Jon Stewart used it in a joke on The Daily Show, lol. I was all, omg I don't get that joke because I haven't read that book and OMG! So I ran to my computer and requested it from my library immediately!


  10. I loved this book too. Such an important book – I recommend it to people all the time. It didn't quite make me cry, but I was closer than I've been with any other book I've read recently. Glad you loved it too!


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