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
The plot is rather far-fetched and requires a fair amount of suspension of disbelief (especially whenever scientific research is being discussed). But somehow this book is compelling in other ways, on an emotional and a philosophical level. There are very interesting insights on psychology too. Essentially, the book is about a good-natured man with severe learning disabilities who becomes a test subject in an experiment that makes him a genius. We follow him as he discovers the world, himself, his past, and his limitations. Don't take everything literally and it will work, I swear! So beautiful and heartbreaking... The final line makes me tear up sometimes when I remember it.
I haven't listened to any of Woodman's other performances, but this one was stellar. If I randomly chose a spot in the narration, I could instantly tell what stage of development Charlie is in. His voice is authentic, without being insulting or disrespectful to people with intellectual disabilities.
The ending gave me a lot to think about.
Certainly, FFA is a justly esteemed modern classic. While I took to after my oldest brother's suggestion, I know where he was coming from.
I certainly wouldn't turn it down, although I believe he had an amount of passion in this work. Keyes was going to medical school, and his parents didn't really want him to be a full time writer. A lot of the that defiance is built into the character of Charlie.
He delivers Charlie better than I imagined.
The whole thing is moving, but I believe it was Charlie at the conference that demonstrated a mastery of story telling art. The doctors are presenting Charlie at a conference, and Charlie is shocked at both how advanced he is, and how wanting the doctors are. He realizes they are not superman, and he just how fleeting we are at our peak.
It was nice that Charlie kept is empathy throughout. Lot of nice morality plays woven into the story. Female characters well developed, will listen to this one again.
Audible is better than TV
This will be long so I will give my summary in the first paragraph.
This is a classic written by a comic book writer and marvelously narrated making the original prose a 3 dimensional reality for the listener. On its own the book is a must read/own but this audio version is also a must have. Are you still with me? Is the book in your library yet? Go get it now and come back.
I wish I had a book club that read this because I am bursting to discuss all of the elements of this title. It is a very in-depth look into people, motivations, wants, desires, and more. How could so much be tucked away in this short prose; I have no idea, but it did and will keep me thinking about many of the aspects for some time to come.
Reading this story and watching the film as a teenager I was moved, but I missed much of what was within the pages. It must be my age that gave me better understanding now as I understand what it is like to have not, gain much, and have not again. I remembered the story was good but I wanted to go back to it. I had an extra credit so I decided to get the book here at audible.
A few minutes ago I sat in my work's parking lot riveted to the last chapter. It was impossible for me to go into work until the book was finished because it held me fast and unbidden tears were streaming down my cheeks. You see, I was not simply watching Charlie, I was Charlie. The author and narrator had done the very rare transportation of my soul into a character's reality. The narrator's part in this process is not to be dismissed. Never have I heard all characters in a story, including minor characters with no lines, so absolutely real and recognizable. How Woodman did this I don't know, but I will seek him out again and again. and I will read the author's other works even though I am sure they will be far lesser than this work.
The perfect timing to read this book is with your child in the summer prior to the first year of high school and then at the stage of life where life has been lived and strength and mind starts to falter. Read with your child and discuss the story to open all of its richness as you would do with a bottle of wine at a wine tasting party. It will motivate as you learn that one's intelligence is precious, learning is precious, and nothing completes the person without the heart. You learn that time is precious and you should not waste a moment of it.
The last thing I will say here is that most books have endings that let me down. I am very critical of endings. This is not the case here.
I will bring flowers to Algernon in my mind each day for many days in my mind.
No. It was an interesting concept but not one I'd want to revisit.
When he wanted to have flowers put on the grave of the mouse.
It was hard to pick on - I think Jeff did a great job.
No, but it did make me cringe a bit at how many incidents of cruelty they went into against the main character. It was a bit over the top.
I read this book when I was 6 abridged albeit and I didn't understand it then. Reading it now in its full glory... It's a beautiful book. Touching and memorable in more ways than can be expressed by the written language.
Excellent narration of an excellent story that transcends time; it feels like a contemporary work despite having been written in 1959. It was fascinating and tragic to read about a man who rapidly transformed from a warm, mentally handicapped person with a troubled childhood, into a frequently cynical, impatient and arrogant genius who is forced to watch himself mentally deteriorate in the end.
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