“Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes is a book written in 1959 which received the Nebula Award for the Best Novel in 1966.
Even though the title gives you the impression that the main character is Algernon, well it’s not. The book it’s about a mentally disabled man, named Charlie Gordon, who at the age of 32 is given a chance to change his life and increase his intellectual capabilities.
I don’t want to spoil the pleasure of finding out what circumstances and decisions brought Charlie to the point of changing his life or who is Algernon and why is the title about him, so I won’t linger more on the topic of the book.
However, I will tell you this. “Flowers for Algernon” is a journal. It’s supposed to be Charlie’s diary, but I think that in the end, anyone can relate to the fascinating character.
This is a book that can be read anytime, but I recommend you to read it when you think you are unhappy about life and you want to do something radical and change it.
“Flowers for Algernon” is like going to a shrink session and discover yourself, but only cheaper (I paid less than $10 for my copy). It is a book about confronting your demons and admitting who you are. It is about friends and family, but also about people who don’t accept you just because you are different than them. And mostly it is about happiness and complete sadness.
One of the many great things about it is its ability to transmit so many warm feelings, even though it is a Sci-Fi and not a Romance story.
I understand that it is studied in high schools in America and I think it is a great thing that they do so. I wish I could have discovered it in my teenage years. It is a short book, only two hundred or something pages, depending on the publishing (I devoured it in a Sunday), but I guarantee it will be appreciated by both a teenager or a cranky old man.