Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes


Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Kindle Edition, first pub. 1959, 321p.

4 out of 5 stars

I’ve recently read Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes as I was teaching it to a group of 15 year olds. What I didn’t realise was that I was teaching the short story version, so I read the novel. I don’t regret it in the slightest. It was positively wonderful.

There is something really melancholic about the story line – the progression from such a low IQ and intellectual ability to being a genius. Charlie was such a well formed and relatable character and I felt like Keyes really illuminated his character through the writing style.

The best part of Flowers for Algernon has to be the way Keyes approaches writing the story. He switches and uses so many techniques to get the point across, and his writing is part of the story itself. The way that Charlie communicates with the reader is heartbreaking and at times, ground-breaking.

I’ve now read both the novel and the short story, and while the short story is really good, the novel is exceptional. If you like a clean (as in, no sex) read the short story has no sexual material, whereas the novel does have some R rated material. The short story is really a great read for young adults, teens and those who may not be confident with reading large works, because it is a great story packed into 20 pages.

One comment

  1. I read this book and wrote a few essays on it for school and definitely agree! Charlie was such a wonderfully complex character and it was interesting watching his intelligence grow and how he has to deal with that in both internal and external terms. My copy ended up having so many little post it notes in it!

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