This is a review of the short story. I have not read the novel, but plan to do so as soon as possible.

It is sad to hear that classic short stories such as this one are being taken off the required reading school curriculum and being replaced with stories that are nowhere near as good.

Flowers for Algernon details, in the form of journal entries (progress reports), the life of a mentally retarded adult named Charlie Gordon, who is subject (willingly) to different tests and eventually an operation which will triple his IQ. Daniel Keyes puts the reader in the protagonist’s shoes like no other author can, and describes a startling yet-unexperienced life event: that of going from stupid to smart in the period of a few weeks.

Flowers for Algernon, even in its at-times simplistic and grammatically incorrect writing (remember, it’s entirely written by Charlie), manages to paint an incredibly descriptive picture of Charlie’s life but also manages to craft a mystifying and interesting yet also heartbreaking story, something ostensibly very difficult to do.

Flowers for Algernon is an absolute classic and it will make you rethink your perception of life, the human psyche and intelligence, and mentally retarded. It’s a monumentally inspiring story and should be read by all young adults, either in school or not.