Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (review by Andrew R. ’17)

Flowers for AlgernonFlowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Daniel Keyes’ beloved short story “Flowers for Algernon,” a mentally retarded adult named Charlie Gordon undergoes a miraculous surgery that nearly triples his IQ, plunging him headfirst into a world of intellectuals even as he comes to terms with his life before the operation. Here, in Keyes’ later novelization of the same narrative, Charlie’s IQ still rockets up at a dangerous pace—but instead of having to accept his shameful past as an adult with the mind of a child, the newly-created genius must also navigate a crushing tide of memories and feelings that his old brain could never have handled. Watching Charlie stumble through his new life, even more confused and emotionally shredded than he had been with his old IQ of 70, is just as tragic as a novel as in the short story format. My only issue is that it was much more difficult to suspend my disbelief about the miraculous surgery and its effects for three hundred pages than it was for thirty. Those who have never read either “Flowers for Algernon” should pick one and get started immediately, but I’m not sure it’s worthwhile to read both variations on the same theme. – Andrew R. ’17

View all my reviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s