Booklight: Flower for Algernon


Emilee Astore

Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes is touching insight on the life of a mentally challenged man. The moment I began to read it, I noticed that his style was different from the usual writing style that many young adult authors use. For example, the casual increase in grammar was a wonderful way he used to express the intelligence shift in the novel’s main character.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys to watch as a character slowly changes. Keyes has managed to capture my attention with this book easily.

The book follows the life of Charlie Gordon. He is 32 years old and goes to Beekman School for Retarded Adults. His high interest in learning, despite his problems, is very admirable. When he gets the chance to get a surgery to become smarter, he gladly takes it. Because he is focused on being a volunteer, they take him. Since he was so eager, his intelligence was tested by being put in a maze along with a mouse named Algernon who had the same surgery. The book follows him from before the surgery to after as he grows more and more aware of his mistakes and his behavior. After the surgery the writing in his progress reports begins to show fewer spelling mistakes and more grammatical errors. He begins to be able to beat Algernon.

As it goes on, it touches me most that he becomes more and more aware that people were laughing at him for his disability. He begins to realize that he had been living his life entirely unaware of what was going on around him, foolishly taking other’s teasing. I relate personally to his in some way, as I was like him before, never realizing that people had been laughing at me as a child. He begins, for the first time in his life, to feel anger and love. He realizes how lonely he is. In the time that all of this happens, Algernon begins to decay. The surgery begins to become faulty.

So the question is, what will happen to Charlie Gordon?