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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

I bought this book from Audible and listened to it with the Audible app on my iPhone.

I have heard about this book many times but have never read it or watched one of the movies or TV shows based on it, but I decided it was about time that I did. Written originally as a short story in 1958 and later in 1966 as a novel it is an amazing tale of a mentally challenged man who science turns into a genius with an incalculably high IQ even though he still has the emotions of a child.

As narrator Jeff Woodman brings this story to life, he does an incredible job presenting Charlie through his many changes and growth along with the people around him that I regularly forgot that only one actor was conveying the story. Not many narrators have done that for me and this performance is the best I have heard in an audio book so far.

From the publisher:

Charlie Gordon knows that he isn’t very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for mentally challenged adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie’s brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon. Meanwhile, each day Charlie keeps a diary of what is happening to him. This is his poignant record of the startling changes in his mind and his life.

Flowers for Algernon was first published as a short story, but soon received wide acclaim as it appeared in anthologies, as a television special, and as an award-winning motion picture, Charly. In its final, expanded form, this haunting story won the Nebula Award for the Best Novel of the Year. Through Jeff Woodman’s narration, it now becomes an unforgettable audio experience.

©1966 Daniel Keyes; (P)1998 Recorded Books, LLC

I rate this book a 10 out of 10 and recommend it to any adult. The story is very intense and the subject matter is inappropriate for children. I do not think I would have reacted well to this story in primary school, maybe as a senior in high school I would have been able to appreciate it, but not before.

One Comment

  1. Jeff Woodman Jeff Woodman December 12, 2013

    Hey Dave, just came upon this review. Flowers For Algernon was one of my favorite books to narrate — so glad you enjoyed it, and many thanks for the kind words!


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