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Blommor till Algy

av Daniel Keyes

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
12,774329334 (4.11)1 / 413
When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him. With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie? An American classic that inspired the award-winning movie Charly.… (mer)
  1. 71
    The Speed of Dark av Elizabeth Moon (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: Charlie is definitely not like Lou, true. But their experiences and perspectives have the same mental effect on readers.
  2. 30
    Möss och människor av John Steinbeck (sturlington)
  3. 31
    Awakenings av Oliver Sacks (Mumugrrl)
  4. 87
    Den besynnerliga händelsen med hunden om natten av Mark Haddon (unlucky)
  5. 10
    Och katten tog en mus av Robert Cormier (angelofmusic_81)
  6. 00
    Efter många somrar av Aldous Huxley (Jarandel)
    Jarandel: Similar introduction of a speculative/fantastical premise as a device for observing and criticizing the writer's present reality.
  7. 00
    Mixtape for the Apocalypse av Jemiah Jefferson (kiparsky)
    kiparsky: Similar narrative structure used for a similar purpose, and both are brilliant and heartbreaking books.
  8. 00
    Den stora hemsökelsen av John Wyndham (hilge)
    hilge: Not so much based on characters or storyline more a general feel to the book that make them feel like good matches
  9. 00
    IK 400 av Poul Anderson (aspirit)
  10. 11
    Camp Concentration av Thomas M. Disch (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Same theme of experimental intelligence enhancement. Disch's experimenters are much more sinister, and his experimental subjects much more intelligent.
  11. 01
    Oversite av Maureen F. McHugh (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: A short story by Maureen McHugh about an experimental treatment for Alzheimer's that looks at the effect of loss and gain of mental functioning from a bystander's point-of-view.
  12. 02
    Flickan med gåvorna av M. R. Carey (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  13. 04
    My Teacher Fried My Brains av Bruce Coville (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: More humor, less drama, but a similar effect in the end.
  14. 15
    Vredens druvor av John Steinbeck (Patangel)
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» Se även 413 omnämnanden

engelska (317)  franska (5)  tagalog (1)  finska (1)  italienska (1)  tyska (1)  Alla språk (326)
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I had some words in mind this morning, after I finished this little novel. Now, my muse has left me. I'll keep it brief. And with spoilers, of course, so I know, at least for myself, what the story was about.

The first tens of pages really annoyed me, as the writing contained an enormous amount of linguistic errors. Epic fail, as they would call it. Talk about putting a strain on my intelligence.

However, the story is written from the POV of the main character, Charlie Gordon. Charlie is a relatively young lad who suffers from a low IQ (68). His abilities in reading and writing, or lack thereof, prevent him from leading a "normal" life. His parents couldn't handle him any more and sent him away. Especially his mother Rose wanted to dispose of him, no matter the cost. Father Matt was more reasonable, although he wasn't the most loving father either, in my opinion. More concerned about his business and maintaining an income.

So, poor Charlie got to work in a bakery, thanks to an old friend of his father. Simple work: cleaning and delivering. Until at some point, some scientists at Beekman University were working on a project to make retards intelligent. They had tested it on animals, in this case Algernon, the mouse. The scientists (Dr. Strauss, Dr. Nemur, ...) were given the permission by Charlie's family and they (the scientists) convinced him - although it was also a female teacher, Ms. Kinnian (Alice), who played a little role in this - to be the human test object for this project.

After the required brain surgery, Charlie had to undergo tests: mainly a maze test (to compete with Algernon) and a card test (with ink blots (Rorschach Test). He also had to keep a diary of his progress, of what he experienced, what he did and thought during the day, etc. This also shows in the structure of the story. You can clearly see that Charlie's writing vastly improves and his personality also changes as his intelligence increases.

The process advances so rapidly, however, that over the course of several weeks, he outsmarts almost anybody. No, he does outsmart them all. His IQ is many times higher than before. Many subjects hold no secrets for him. However, the disadvantage is that most (ordinary) people can't discuss many of the subjects he's mastered.

His job at the bakery soon comes to an end, as the owner realises that Charlie is too smart for dumb work. His friends, or "friends", also begin to retaliate against him. Prior to his operation (operashun), they laughed with him, they sort of bullied him, they mocked him. Charlie didn't realise this, thought that was what friends did to each other. As his intelligence increased, his ability to put two and two together, to reconsider what he went through in the past, it dawned on him that people didn't treat him fairly, but indeed considered him less than nothing.

His new life also means he has to live on his own. He gets paid from the foundation that is funding the project to increase intelligence of retarded people. Love enters his life, albeit not as he expected. His neighbour, Fay, is a liberal thinking woman, interested in painting, dancing... and sex. She also "teaches" him to drink. And we all know the nasty effects of too much drinking (of alcoholic beverages). Charlie, however, is more in love with his teacher, Alice. (Kudos to her for caring about Charlie, despite the problems that would arise later)

Strangely enough, his mind plays tricks on him. He sees a younger version of himself in specific situations, paralysing him, making him afraid to continue.

Charlie becomes close friends with Algernon. At some point, when Dr. Nemur (and Strauss, although he thinks it's a bit too early to draw conclusions and already present temporary findings as definite facts) wants to present their (his?) findings at an important congress. It later turns out that Charlie has seen through the scheme, that these scientists put own image and credibility before the humanity of it all. Charlie wants more honesty, more transparency, and above all, more respect for the human being behind the test object.

As he/Charlie realises, after Algernon breaks down at a given moment, that the effect of the surgery won't last after all, he decides to give his all and make this project a success, at least for the many other dumb people out there. So... he takes over from Dr. Nemur and his colleagues. He also tries to make amends with his parents and sister (Norma), while he can. He wants to understand his past, why they did to him what they did. His father didn't recognise him (not even after the haircut he gave his son - then again, they hadn't seen each other in 17 years or so) and Charlie didn't try harder for some reason. His mother had become demented, didn't recognise him either, until Norma came to visit her and saw them talking to each other. Then it all came back and Charlie had to leave prematurely.

So, all's well that ends well. At least for Charlie's investigations and efforts to finish the project in a positive way. He sent his report to the respective scientists and his mother. That way, he could show her he was now a smart boy, he could be normal.

But as Algernon prematurely gave in (Charlie had buried him in the back yard, so they wouldn't burn the creature in the university's incinerator), so did Charlie regress and lose his upgraded intelligence in reading and writing (reeding and riting). To eventually return to his old life in the bakery, where he was bullied by a new colleague. But his old colleagues/"friends" stepped up for him and defended good ol' Charlie, who told the others and the boss to give the new one a second chance. That guy wouldn't try to hurt Charlie a second time, and he needed the money to take care of his family.

----------------------------

It's only 216 pages long (at least my edition), but it's 216 pages that go straight through the heart. A disturbing novel on both an emotional and a psychological level. I have, not that I remember, never read anything like this.

Reading about Charlie's experiences as a dumb kid, being bullied, laughed at (and not knowing if it's for real or for fun), ... made me angry and sad, as they reminded me, in a way, of my past. His intelligence period, during which he came to understand that intelligence is not everything, that feelings and emotions also play a role in life, was a hard one. It confronted him with his past, his thoughts and expressions were more coherent, he understood what was meant by the Rorschach Test (previously he didn't/couldn't use his imagination or that part of his brain), and so on. He also understood that not all relationships can be fruitful or beneficial. Fay, for example, was too extraverted for him, too wild, too careless somehow. She was sucking his energy, you could say. His life or way of living was more rigid, structured, as was the interior of his apartment.

Seeing Charlie's star rise, I was happy for him. Seeing his star fall and wane, and how it all happened (and how "normal" people treat less intelligent people... even to this day; actually, haven't we all been guilty of this one way or another?), even if you could easily predict it (but you didn't), was heart-breaking. Straight through the heart. Tears were rising to the surface and ready to be shed.

Heavily recommended book! For real! ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
Great book. Predictable ending but that was the point. ( )
  Katherax | Jan 2, 2021 |
As we were reviewing the NPR readers’ choice list of science fiction and fantasy, this was one which was highly recommended by multiple co-workers. I had passed it over many times before when browsing through the stacks at my local library, or when shelving returned items, so I figured it was high time that I picked it up.

The narrator, Charlie Gordon, is a young man with an I.Q. around 70. Although somewhat mentally handicapped, he is physically function, and is employed at a bakery by a friend of his father’s. One day, he is selected from a number of other students at the school to be a candidate for a special surgery. As part of this process, Charlie undergoes many tests and is instructed to write progress reports, which are collected in this book. Once the surgery takes place, Charlie begins to note changes in how he feels, sees things, understands things. He also records memories, flashbacks of his childhood, his relationship with his parents, his sister, his school mates. Although Charlie’s intellect grows, his interpersonal skills lag, which results in many confusing incidents and interactions, especially with people who knew Charlie before the surgery, and can track his phenomenal changes.

This really is an engaging and fast-paced read. I devoured it in one afternoon, not wanting to put it down until I had gotten to the end. Charlie’s confusion and distress at not knowing how to act or behave in social situations or with people who he thought were his friends will resonate with anyone who has been on the outside of a social circle. His growth and developing awareness of himself as a person throughout the story raise questions of how mentally handicapped people are treated, and made me think about how I interact with such people. I can definitely see this novel appealing to teen readers, especially reluctant readers. I’d recommend it to fans of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” and similar books. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Second time around, and this time with a high school book club. SO many great discussions from this book. Recommended. ( )
  nrt43 | Dec 29, 2020 |
wow. so well written and quite an emotional rollercoaster ( )
  zacchaeus | Dec 26, 2020 |
Visa 1-5 av 326 (nästa | visa alla)
[Keyes] has taken the obvious, treated it in a most obvious fashion, and succeeded in creating a tale that is suspenseful and touching - all in modest degree, but it is enough.
tillagd av Shortride | ändraThe New York Times, Eliot Fremont-Smith (betalvägg) (Mar 7, 1966)
 

» Lägg till fler författare (6 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Daniel Keyesprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Barroso, PazÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Burgerer, Eva-MariaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Delessert, EtienneIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Dessauer, MariaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Gallet, Georges HilaireÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Leek, JanÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Monecke, HiltguntÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Moore, ChrisOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Paz, BarrosoÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Pekkanen, HilkkaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Podaný, RichardÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Powers, RichardIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Rabkin, Eric S.Inledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Santos, DomingoÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Szepessy, GyörgyÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Thole, KarelOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Woodman, JeffBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees anyone whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be to (sic) ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter life, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from drakness to the day is dazzled by excess of light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity the other; or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul which comes from below into the light, there will be more reason in this than in the laugh which greets him who returns from above out of the light into the den. Plato, The Republic
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Dr Strauss says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir and evrey thing that happins to me from now on.
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This is the full length novel based on the short story. Please do not combine the two.
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Wikipedia på engelska (2)

When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him. With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie? An American classic that inspired the award-winning movie Charly.

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