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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 (1509 )
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Performance
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  •  
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 06-07-14
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 06-07-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    254
    ratings
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    602
    91
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    Story
    "Beautifully written"

    This is a beautifully written book, and even if you know how it is going to end it is a joy to hear how the author creates the arc of Charlie's experience. The narrator does a fine job of creating the characters in the story, but mostly in finding the perfect voice for Charlie each step of the way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ttim San Francisco, CA, United States 07-23-13
    Ttim San Francisco, CA, United States 07-23-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
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    36
    21
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    10
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    Story
    "Even more relevant to today's world"

    An absolutely fantastic read. Other reviews have given excellent outlines of the plot and topics addressed in this title, so I won't repeat them here.
    We may have come along way in how we treat people with disabilities since this book was first published, but in some ways we haven't moved forward at all. Imparticular, how people view others with intellectual disabilities has not really changed that much.

    This book will make you reflect on some many levels. For one thing, getting what we always desire doesn't necessarily make us any happier. How we treat and perceive people who are "different" can have both positive and negative affects on these people, but also can affect us even more profoundly.

    Read this book, you won't regret it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Prsilla 01-14-13
    Prsilla 01-14-13 Member Since 2007

    Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "MASTERPIECE"

    Not an easy listen, but so worthwhile! Maybe the second listen will be better because one knows where it's going. I was not comfortable listening. Things could have gone so many ways. Still, heartbreaking, unforgettable and beautifully written. Jeff Woodman is marvelous.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
    7
    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
    ratings
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    9
    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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    0
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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
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    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
    599
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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
  •  
    Toni 11-09-14
    Toni 11-09-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    5
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "You really feel for the main character."
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, it made me both laugh and cry.


    Any additional comments?

    Did not realize this book was written so long ago. Those little telling signs I chalked up to the characteristic of the main character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Cook 10-23-14
    C. Cook 10-23-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Wonderful and Insightful"

    How do you know what's going on in the mind of someone who has limited intelligence? This book gives powerful insight into that experience -- and the prejudices that accompany such a life. Yes, this is a winner of a book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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