This was my first time reading the full-length book but, like many Americans, I read the original short story as a child in school. That was nearly thirty years ago, but I still remembered the basic story quite well. Flowers for Algernon is the kind of story that makes an impression. The premise, if anybody doesn’t already know it, is that Charlie, a mentally disabled man in his thirties, is given an experimental operation to increase his intelligence. The story is told entirely through journal entries that Charlie writes before and throughout the experiment.
I doubt my review is going to reveal much about the story that people don’t already know. I suspect most people know the general story, including its ending, even if they’ve never read it themselves. However, there are definitely spoilers, and I think it’s going to be too hard for me to segregate them out into a shorter segment, so I’m just going to play it safe and put the rest of my review in spoiler tags.
Although this book is considered science fiction, this is primarily because of the operation Charlie was given. The story itself has a more contemporary feel to it and would appeal to people who don’t enjoy science fiction. The short story was originally published in 1959 and the novel was published in 1966, but the story didn’t feel dated to me at all.