Book Review: Flowers For Algernon

Book Review: Flowers For Algernon
by Sarah W.




Charlie Gordon has a mental disorder and is stupid. He can’t spell anything right because he can’t remember how to. He laughs along with his friends, who, unbeknownst to him, are making fun of him. For most of his life, Charlie has worn a happy, although empty, smile. But his docile life changes when he is offered an escape out of his stupid world. For Charlie, everything has been about being smart. With intelligence, he can have friends and be normal; most importantly, perhaps it will make his mother proud.

He soon meets a mouse named Algernon who, after being experimented on years ago, is now super smart. It’s possible that this operation could work on Charlie.

This seems like the perfect solution to all of Charlie’s problems; however, he soon learns that being smart may not be as good as it seems, and unexpected events may take it all away from him.


Writing Style:

Keyes portrays the change in Charlie’s intelligence through the language Charlie uses in his journal. The reader can easily tell the difference between Charlie before the operation and after through variations of his language. The old Charlie is very blunt and naively happy. However, the new version of himself lacks the old smile.


Social/Historical Context:

This story is written in the present day, with new advances in technology that we don’t have right now. Flowers for Algernon is a beautifully written tale about a boy who searches for intelligence, but does not understand the pain of knowledge.


My thoughts:
Flowers for Algernon was a lovely novel to read. Charlie’s personality was so openly naïve and simple that it was hard not to immediately immerse myself in his character. Keyes made a fantastic new world that never got boring and had me flipping the pages until I was lost in the tale. Charlie’s character had a simple innocence that simply drew me into the novel. There was something intriguing about Charlie’s personality change as he went from believing himself to be stupid to becoming an intelligent, thoughtful and interesting person. I would definitely suggest this novel to anyone who wants to read a heartwarming novel about a boy who just wants to fit in.