[Review] Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

Title of Book : Flowers of Algernon
Author : Daniel Keyes
Publisher : Mariner Books

In this classic story that inspired the hit movie by the same name. Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled adult who cleans floors and toilets, becomes a genius through an experimental operation.

Flowers for Algernon is my book selection for April keyword reading challenge. I've never heard about this book before so I chose this book randomly. While google-ing about Flowers for Algernon, it was revealed that this book was released under the title 'Charlie si Jenius Dungu' in Indonesia, aha! I know about that one. I had a lot of expectations since this book is a bestseller and has won several awards.
Flowers for Algernon is a tale about a retarded adult named Charlie who has strong motivation to be smart. He agreed to try an experimental operation to make dumb people become smarter. This book is mainly about how society treats retarded people. What more interesting is Flowers for Algernon is written in epistolary form. Charlie is required to write progress report for the sake of the experiment. We could see Charlie's development as we read the reports. The first few reports, there are a lot of spelling errors and sometimes the sentences don't make any sense. It annoys me a bit reading his first few reports. I had to think hard and guessed what he actually wanted to say in the report. His writing improves after he took the operation. He becomes more aware of his spelling mistakes.
After he became smart, like a curious child, he wanted to know everything. His curiosity backfired when he found out that there had been a mistake in the experiment's calculation. With his new intelligence, he found out that the process would reverse and he would not be smart again. To make it worse, there's a possibility that he wouldn't last longer.
Flowers for Algernon makes me do a lot of thinking. Before he became genius, Charlie was a sincere person. He simply just wanted to be liked. When he was smart, he became arrogant, sometimes he underestimated another person. What Charlie learned first after he became smart was how people around him actually treated him. He learned that when he was dumb, people make fun of him and he was too dumb to understand. Sadly, even though we know that it was wrong, it still happens in our society. I don't blame him that he was angry afterwards. Flowers for Algernon is a good book. I'm glad I chose this book for my April selection.


  1. Sounds like a really interesting book. I'd never heard of it before either. Great review!

  2. It is interesting indeed. Thank you :)