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Flowers for Algernon | [Daniel Keyes]

Flowers for Algernon

Charlie Gordon knows that he isn't very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for mentally challenged adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie's brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon.
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Publisher's Summary

Charlie Gordon knows that he isn't very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for mentally challenged adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie's brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon. Meanwhile, each day Charlie keeps a diary of what is happening to him. This is his poignant record of the startling changes in his mind and his life.

Flowers for Algernon was first published as a short story, but soon received wide acclaim as it appeared in anthologies, as a television special, and as an award-winning motion picture, Charly. In its final, expanded form, this haunting story won the Nebula Award for the Best Novel of the Year. Through Jeff Woodman's narration, it now becomes an unforgettable audio experience.

©1966 Daniel Keyes; (P)1998 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1966

"A tale that is convincing, suspectful and touching." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1181 )
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4.5 (945 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tez L Los Angeles, CA USA 01-03-13
    Tez L Los Angeles, CA USA 01-03-13 Member Since 2011

    Tez L

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    26
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    Story
    "Simply a great book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Flowers for Algernon to be better than the print version?

    The magic of this story is in the development, the progression, of Algernon; his growth from fumbling retard (perhaps a politically incorrect word, but precise to the time of the book) to an eloquent adult and beyond. It's incredible to hear this development, as read by Woodman, and I can't imagine it being as incredible of a journey had I had to read it myself, trying to manage the right pronunciation...


    What did you like best about this story?

    I love how this book develops, as simple as that. You see the world as Algernon sees it in every step and it's incredible to see the same world from so many different perspectives.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Butler, PA, United States 01-08-13
    Janet Butler, PA, United States 01-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    9
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    "serious but interesting"

    This story is not light and entertaining, but I am glad that I listened to it. It really did make me think about how society sees persons with mental challenges, or any types of handicaps or differences for that matter. It also said a lot about how important companionship and friendships are. Don't expect to feel better after listening to this book - it's not a feel-good book - but I think it's worth listening to.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Lansdale, PA, United States 09-29-12
    William Lansdale, PA, United States 09-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    16
    3
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    "Charlie - Cliff Robertson"
    Where does Flowers for Algernon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is the first fiction I've listened to and its a bit difficult to rate it against a book on say: "Quantum Mechanics." I'm going to start reading a lot more fiction. This book was an insightful joy.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Alice Kinnian


    Which scene was your favorite?

    "Please leave."


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    It's a bit late for that.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved "Charlie" the movie but the saying was never truer: The book was better.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vic MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, United States 09-18-12
    Vic MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, United States 09-18-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    0
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    Story
    "Tech issue in performance"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is often described as science fiction but personally I regard it as a novel with the plot being driven by one key fictional scientific advancement.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Charlie is by far the driving force of this novel and as such is the focus of positive attention.


    What about Jeff Woodman’s performance did you like?

    I'm thrilled by Woodman's relatively straight interpretation of Charlie. I was worried I would be unable to listen to this if it was narrated by someone pretending to be retarded.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    There was a film made of this book. It was a very watered down version of the story but still a good film.


    Any additional comments?

    There is a technical issue in the recording. I assume the original recording was done on tape. There is a kind of feedback that has this ethereal tape echo vibe to it. It is only really noticeable during the pauses between some sentences but it is still present enough to avoid being ignored.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 05-30-11
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 05-30-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    574
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    494
    277
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    "Glad I Listened To It"

    The movie of this book obviously was wonderful. That is why I waned to get this selection. But for once, the movie was more enjoyable. Cliff Robertson's portrayal of the experimental subject was warm, a character you really would like. In the book, this character did not seem to enjoy the gift he was given. He was angry, driven to the degree that he did not become a nice person. Granted I am not going to tell an author how to do it better, but I just could not becme sympathetic to the main character.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    . Newton, MA, United States 07-29-14
    . Newton, MA, United States 07-29-14 Member Since 2013

    reza5240

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    16
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    "timeless classic"
    If you could sum up Flowers for Algernon in three words, what would they be?

    an excellent listen


    What did you like best about this story?

    Very well written and believable, a complete cycle.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When the hero lets out Algernon at the conference.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would have liked to, but it was too long to do that.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Milwaukee, WI, United States 07-29-14
    Chris Milwaukee, WI, United States 07-29-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love the story and the performance. Excellent"
    Would you listen to Flowers for Algernon again? Why?

    Once I get through all my books I will listen to this one again. It was good, kept my interest.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Love the emotions that Charlie went through. I like the books ending better than the movies.


    What about Jeff Woodman’s performance did you like?

    Jeff Woodman did a super job. Love his interpretation of all the people in the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Saw the movie many years ago and now listened to the book. Loved both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ursula COLUMBIA, MD, United States 07-21-14
    Ursula COLUMBIA, MD, United States 07-21-14 Member Since 2001
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    "Have always loved this book"

    I have read this book many times. It's a fascinating story of how scientists think they can improve a mentally challenged person's life by operating on him and raise his IQ. The best part for me was when Charlie Gordon realizes that he was a whole person even when he was still "retarded". Saw the movie years ago as well where some of the plot line was changed but still loved it as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mpwest Windsor, SC, United States 07-05-14
    Mpwest Windsor, SC, United States 07-05-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    51
    5
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    "Childhood book come to life"
    If you could sum up Flowers for Algernon in three words, what would they be?

    Dreams of mice and men


    What other book might you compare Flowers for Algernon to and why?

    In a league of its own, I have not been impressed with a book of this caliber since I have read it. I love this book


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Do not have a particular scene, I just am I'm pressed with the whole story


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I guess when he realized he was being used. Broke my heart. He was so sweet and innocent . I don't like giving the story away ?


    Any additional comments?

    I really think my heart just explodes at the end, I'm broken .
    Still love the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. D Idaho, United States 06-26-14
    Mr. D Idaho, United States 06-26-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    68
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    "Wow! How did I not know about this book"
    Any additional comments?

    No spoilers.

    A very good story. It is easy to recommend this book. It is classified as science fiction but really that isn't a fair way to group it. It is a book to stimulate the grey matter that asks you to suspended one small aspect of reality. That is, the idea that science has come up with a way to help those with intellectual disability. Not much to suspend there, it does seem like something science could achieve.

    This is a book that pushes one to think. Not in a hard way, it isn't a difficult read/listen but there are ideas found within that cause one to adjust their perspective. That is true in the way you are placed inside the intellectually disabled person but there are also the many ramifications when that person is 'helped'.

    For those wondering, this book does not feel dated. For the most part there wasn't technology discussed that would date it. It was written in a way that it feels current.

    If you like uniqueness in you reading, this is a book you should read/listen to. For me anyway, it felt fresh. There are other books that come to mind that are similar but unique in their own way. A Clockwork Orange and Solaris are such books. Both opened my eyes to bigger questions.

    If you have read and enjoyed The Curious Incident with the Dog in the Night-Time, you will like this book. Both allow you to spend a few days in the moccasins of someone quite different.

    Book or audio? The narrator did an excellent job, he doesn't detract from the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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