FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON By: Daniel Keyes, Book Review, Brett A
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes is a book about a 32-year-old man named Charlie. He is a mentally retarded man who gets a surgery to raise his IQ. This book is actually Charlie’s journal. He recorded every thought he had, every action he took in his journal. Through this you learn about his experiences and get a first hand look at what Daniel Keyes portrays as a mans trip to intelligence.
This book was written in the form of a journal, Charlie’s journal. I believe this was the perfect format for this plot, how every chapter was a report written by Charlie in his journal. The first person point of view really brings the reader into the story. Also the spelling and grammar mistakes that gradually disappear is a great touch to show his intelligence rising, I really felt like i knew Charlie while i read this book. I could really feel Charlie’s emotions as i read. Daniel Keyes did a great job at putting emotion and feeling into all of the characters in the book. I also thought he did a great job at just making him sound smarter by using more professional and correct language in the writing. That and the fact that Charlie was solving problems really showed how his intelligence raised progressively through the book.
Another really great thing about the book is how the surgery did in fact raise his intelligence but not just like magic. The surgery just enabled him to learn. So he still had to learn just like any other person. He just had to be given the ability to learn. But even when his intelligence did in fact triple, he was still emotionally retarded. So in regards to his maturity he was still retarded. This set up a great plot. I thought that was very clever of Daniel Keyes.
But just like all great books there are some flaws. Some parts of the book were drawn out and painful to read, like the beginning. Its just Charlie talking about how scared he was about the surgery and test the doctors were giving him. The only thing that kept me going was the silly spelling and grammar that was used. So it was amusing to read the elementary style of writing. But of course like all books the beginning was very important because it set up the rest of the story. Another painful part was when Charlie is trying to figure out his sex life with Fay. Also his love life with Alice It is a realistic problem that a person like this would have and i applaud Daniel Keyes for thinking about that, but it is obnoxious and almost un comfortable to read sometimes. Especially when Charlie goes into length about things.
One of my favorite parts about this book is the relationship between Charlie and Algernon. Since they had the same surgery obviously they would have some behavioral similarities. But really how much could a mouse and a person have in common. Well through Charlie’s eyes a lot, he saw Algernon as a best friend. That’s another thing Daniel Keyes does very well is he gives Algernon a personality. But really without Charlie, Algernons personality wouldn’t exist. This is because Algernons personality is precived through Charlie. And that is how the whole book is precieved, through Charlie’s eyes. But anyways, there was such a strong connection between Charlie and Algernon that i just loved. Daniel Keyes really did give Algernon a personality. I believe that little insignificant mouse was the most significant character in this book.
Flowers for Algernon is highly original and very well written. Daniel Keyes is obviously a spectacular writer. While reading this book you really feel like you know that characters. They all have such realistic and believable traits. I would recommend this book for anybody who loves a good read. On a 5 star scale I would have to give Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes a whopping 6 stars. No questions asked.