Difference between revisions of "Flowers For Algernon"

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[[Category: Fiction]]
[[Category: Fiction]]
[[Category: Psychology]]
[[Category: Psychology]]
[[Category: Books I've Read]]

Revision as of 15:23, 11 February 2018

First edition hardcover.

Flowers For Algernon is a science fiction novel by Daniel Keyes, published in March, 1966. It was originally written as a short story and published in April, 1959, but Keyes, after winning an award for the story, expanded it to a full novel. The book is about a mentally disabled man named Charlie Gordon who undergoes a medical treatment that, not only fixes his disability, but turns him into one of the smartest geniuses in the world. The story revolves around his difficulties coping with the complexities of life both when disabled and as a genius.

Having heard about this book for years, I finally decided to give it a chance when I obtained an audio book version of it.


I do not own this book, but I am listening to an audio book recording.



  • It's tragic, yet believable, to hear the horrors Charlie, while disabled, endures by his mother, quack physicians, co-workers, and strangers all the while thinking of many of them as his "friends."
  • I like how Keyes demonstrates that geniuses often face as much stigma as mentally disabled people, because both are on such a different level intellectually. The frustrations Charlie has with people going too fast when his IQ was 60 remains when his IQ becomes 180 and he has to be patient with everyone.
  • It's interesting to think that, while facts can be learned from a book, it's much harder to teach something as natural as interpersonal skills.


  • The neuroscience certainly shows its age. Dream learning doesn't produce effective results, memory regression therapy is highly flawed, and the idea of tapping unused portions of the mind doesn't really fit with modern science.


  • Nothing.