am 17. Februar 2015
Daniel Keyes hat mit diesem Buch den Ursprung für Filme wie "Lucy" (Scarlett Johansson) oder "Ohne Limit" (Bradley Cooper) geliefert.
Es geht um Charlie Gordon, welcher einen IQ von lediglich 68 aufweist und von seinen Arbeitskollegen stets aufgezogen wird, ohne es allerdings als Gemeinheit zu registrieren. Für ihn lachen sie alle mit ihm und niemand über ihn. Er wünscht sich jedoch nichts sehnlicher als lesen und schreiben zu können. Als ihm eines Tages ein Angebot von Wissenschaftlern gemacht wird, seine Intelligenz drastisch zu erhöhen, wähnt er die Erfüllung seines Traumes. Dass die Erhöhung des eigenen Wissens nicht nur Vorteile mit sich bringt, muss Charlie jedoch ebenfalls lernen.
Das Werk ist in Form eines Tagebuches aus der Sicht von Charlie Gordon verfasst. Dies bedeutet, dass die Sprache am Anfang sehr simpel ist und viele Rechtschreib- sowie Grammatikfehler aufweist. Im Laufe der Einträge erlebt man, wie das Geschriebene zunehmend komplexer und korrekter wird. Wir lesen die Ereignisse aus Charlies Leben und wie er diese wertet. Diese subjektive Betrachtungsweise, ist das faszinierende an dem Buch. Was Daniel Keyes sehr gut skizziert ist, dass es sich bei Charlie, ob seiner hohen Intelligenz und seines Alters, nicht um einen erwachsenen Mann handelt. Er ist auf emotionaler Ebene immer noch ein Jugendlicher bzw. junger Erwachsener und muss nicht nur Bücher studieren, sondern auch menschlich reifen um wirklich glücklich zu werden.
am 10. März 2015
This is probably the best and at the same time the saddest book I've ever read. Charlie has a very low IQ and undergoes surgery that will make him smarter. It works and he soon becomes a genius. At the same time, the loving and good-natured "retard" turns into a selfish and cold person. Still, you cannot help to feel sorry for him. Unfortunately, he discovers that the surgery he underwent was not fully developed and he soon starts regressing. The horrible part about it is that he knows that he was once smart and that him becoming dumb again is inevitable. The whole novel made me sad from start to finish. On the other hand, I've never been so immersed in a book and I couldn't stop telling my friends about it. This is definitely one of the greatest books of all time and only to recommend.
am 16. November 2015
Amazing book that touches the heart.
In midtime I felt a little bored but the scenes add up together as they must.
This is in at no means meant as a downgrade of the book. It is just my feeling that schown up in the middle. Anyway, boring means not not important.
Very strong and beautifully written.
No! I did not cry in the end... but I know many would.
am 18. März 2005
This is a wonderful and highly original novel about a mentally challenged man named Charlie who wanted to be smart. One day, his wish was granted. A group of scientists selected him for an experimental operation which would to raise his intelligence to genius level. Suddenly, Charlie found himself transformed, and life, as he knew it, changed.
His story is told entirely through Charlie's eyes and perceptions in the form of progress reports. The reader actually sees the change in Charlie take place, as his progress reports become more complex, well written, and filled with the angst of personal discovery and growth, as well as with his gradual awareness of his amazing and accelerated intellectual development.
The progress reports are a wonderful contrivance for facilitating the story, and the reader is one with Charlie on his voyage of self-discovery. What happens to Charlie in the long run is profoundly moving and thought provoking. It is no wonder that this author was the recipient of the Nebula Award, which is given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for having written the Best Novel of the Year. This is definitely a book well worth reading and having in one's personal collection. Bravo!
Charlie Gordon ist Anfang dreißig, freundlich, fleißig, und mit einem IQ unter 70 auf dem geistigen Niveau eines Sechsjährigen. Um in Mr. Donners Bäckerei zu helfen, reicht es aber - hier hat seine Heimat gefunden, hier hat er viele Freunde, die mit ihm Spaß machen, und hier ist er nicht allein.
Was ihm auch viel Freude macht, ist die Abendschule, wo er versucht, lesen und schreiben zu lernen und schlau zu werden. Da gehört er zu den Ehrgeizigsten, und so wird ihm die Ehre zuteil, an einem Experiment teilnehmen zu dürfen, einem Experiment, das sein Leben verändern könnte: Einem kleinen Eingriff ins Steuerzentrum seines Gehirns, der die Ursache für seine Behinderung beseitigen soll. Er wäre der erste Mensch, bei dem man das versucht, bisher hatten nur Tiere das Glück. Bei Algernon, der weißen Maus, hat es hervorragend funktioniert: Die flitzt jetzt durch ihr Labyrinth und kann auf dem Weg Probleme lösen, an denen die meisten Zweibeiner scheitern würden, und Charlie sowieso.
Wir beobachten die Fortschritte aus Charlies Sicht, durch die Berichte, die er für seine Förderer schreiben muss. Und tatsächlich tut sich was: Seine Rechtschreibung wird besser, seine Gedanken ordnen sich, verschüttete Erinnerungen tauchen wieder auf, und er beginnt vieles verstehen, auch dass nicht alle Menschen gut sind, schon gar nicht zu ihm, darunter auch solche, die er für seine Wohltäter hält. Er sieht die Welt mit neuen, immer schärferen Augen.
"Flowers for Algernon" entstand vor bald 50 Jahren, zu einer Zeit, als Forscher (noch) weniger als heute von ethischen Zweifeln angekränkelt waren, die bei Versuchen an Mensch und Tier hätten hinderlich sein können, und als geistig Behinderte in der Regel durch Wegsperren therapiert wurden. Das muss man sich vor Augen halten, um zu verstehen, wie weit Daniel Keyes seiner Zeit voraus war.
P. S.: Wenn man überhaupt etwas bemängeln möchte, dann höchstens, dass man ziemlich bald ahnt, wohin die Reise geht, vor allem, wenn man vorher den mal wieder viel zu geschwätzigen Klappentext gelesen hat. Ich hatte das Buch von meinem Schwiegersohn, und der hatte mir dringend geraten, genau das nicht zu tun. Diese Empfehlung kann ich nur weitergeben.
am 7. März 2016
Ist mal etwas anderes und mir gefällt der Aufbau richtig, richtig gut! Die Geschichte wird nämlich in Form von "Progris riports" aus der Sicht von Charlie, einem 32-jährigen mit einem IQ von 68, erzählt, der dank einer Gehirnoperation nach und nach intelligenter als die meisten anderen Menschen wird...
Die Entwicklung, Gefühlswelt, innere Haltung sind sehr gut nachvollziehbar und äußerst spannend. Zum Nachdenken anregend ;-)
am 14. Mai 2000
I am writing this review when I have just finished reading the book about 1hour ago. I have the feeling that if I don't write this now, I'll never get down to writing it and it will simply be forgotten and stuffed away in another part of my memory. (Whoops, am I beginning to sound like Charlie nearing the end?) Which is quite a pity for such a wonderful story.
If I were to describe the story in one word, that word would be "poignant". This book has aroused my emotions and stimulated my thoughts in the span of what, 2 days? Although it is not to the extent of making me cry (no book has done that to me before), I keep getting this funny tingling sensation at those especially emotional scenes. I have experienced this at least 7 times throughout the reading.
In my opinion, David Keyes did an extremely good job in employing the use of the first person view, journal style writing where the main character, Charlie, narrates the events to the reader. More than once have I marvelled at the way Keyes writes about the range of feelings and emotions that Charlie goes through. Keyes has portrayed them in an extremely realistic manner. I'm willing to bet that for Keyes to have achieved that, he must have thought about how he himself felt in certain situations and applied them to Charlie's character. Why? Because some of the feelings that Keyes describes are almost exactly the same as what I have experienced. That's what makes the story even more grippingly realistic. The darker side of human emotions such as anger, hatred, frustration and fear are shown more in the story. More than halfway through the story I was already feeling that the story was starting to become quite frightening because of its realism. It thoroughly explores the world of human emotions. To all psychology students, don't miss this one.
I think the most prominent theme being discussed throughout the story is that of intelligence. The story questions whether intelligence is really a good thing. Before the operation, we see Charlie Gordon the moron with an I.Q. of 70, the honest, trusting, good-natured and likeable Charlie Gordon. After the operation, we see the super-intelligent Charlie Gordon, highly knowledgeable in many fields, master of 20 languages, and yet arrogant and unable to connect with and relate to ordinary people. He begins to see, but not tolerate the inadequacies of the normal human being. Charlie's only salvation comes from the fact that he once experienced life with an I.Q. of 70. That is why at the end he finally realizes his mistake. He says, "Intelligence and education that hasn't been tempered by human affection isn't worth a damn." This is a contrast to the scientists, Professor Nemur especially, who has the benefit of education but is almost incapable of sensitivity and feeling emotionally. Somebody once told me that there is greed and ambition in this world because of education. That's something worth thinking about.
Hmm...now I've come to the last part: why the Flowers for Algernon is so beautiful. To me, the story is basically about the psychological journey about a man, a man who has lived at the two extremes of intelligence. Some people have commented that the story is a dark and depressing. I disagree. The final part of the story where Charlie is losing his intelligence and he has to face it is indeed heart-wrenching, as we see how he slowly becomes the old Charlie again, and how he has to painfully let go of certain things.
Yes, the story is full of ups and downs, and the downs are indeed more than the ups. In fact, isn't there only one "up" in the story? The part where Charlie finally realizes what intelligence really means, and the Charlie of the present finally learns to live with the Charlie of the past. In my opinion, that is the very pinnacle of the story. He discovers how to truly live life to the fullest, he learns about using intelligence not just for himself, but for the world, and he conquers his fear to experience the joy of love. However short-lived it may be, I feel that it overshadows all other parts of the story, even if he loses everything at the end. Good things cannot last forever, and perhaps that's what makes them even more beautiful. There is true beauty in Charlie's words when he says,
"Alice knows everything about me now, and accepts the fact that we can only be together for a short while...It's painful to think about that, but what we have, I suspect, is more than most people find in a lifetime."
am 8. Februar 2000
This book made me cry a lot. A story about a man, who never became a man because of his mental handicap. Everybody should read this book, and after reading this, he/she should find their own answers. At the first moment I got the feeling, that he had a short excursion to the real life after his operation. But then I figured out, that the big mistake we all do is, we count people to "us", when they seem to be "normal". This book shows, how misunderstanding we all are. And how ignoring. Charly Gordon is in all of us. A genius and a retarded, we just don't want to accept this. We try to be average, for not being recognized. Charly's story is just one way to pull the blankets in front of our eyes away. I'd wish, somebody would translate it in german, better in all languages....
am 29. Mai 2000
Flowers for Algernon brings out the true spirit of humanity and its neverending quest for knowledge and learning. This story is told through fascinating journal entries submitted by a man named Charlie Gordan. These accounts help to give the reader a more personal glimpse at the progress and setbacks he suffers from. Romance is eventually entwined into the plot, carefully drawing out emotions that Charlie has hidden all his life. This novel delves into questions that many have wondered, but that no one has proved: Is it possible to dramatically increase a person's intelligence? If so, is it ethical? Full of subtle suspense and intertwined complexities, it is an awe-inspiring read. It tugs at the heart strings and continues to do so long after the last page has been turned!
am 22. November 2014
... but what if an operation can increase your intelligence? Mentally challenged Charly wants to try it, because he is dreaming all his life of being smart.
The book is intense and really good written, the development of Charly isauthentic. The reader "looks" at the happenings and the whole world through Charly's diary-like progress reports, therefore the reader gets to know Charly and his thinking very well.
Yes, the book has lots of flaws, but most of them are thanks to its age. Written (and first published) in 1958 it was a fantastic science fiction story - based on nowadays science there are lots of questions and "impossibilities" (mainly the execution of the scientific experiment and its interpretation). But more than 55 years ago it was quite realistic!
The "I was happy in the bakery"-theme was a bit forced and after the realisation that his co-workers were making fun of him (that he was being harassed, not only verbally), it was a bit surprising that his return to the bakery was like a happy end: his co-workers suddenly like best friends, not only accepting him as he is, but even defending him against hasrassing etc. Unrealistic! And Charly tends to forget that he may have been not unhappy in his life before the operation, but he always wanted to learn and to be smarter, so he could talk to his friends, whom he doesn't understand at all. Well, that doens't sound like life in paradise for me, So Charly's insisting on his happy life before the operation is a bit implausible.
In spite of its flaws I really liked the storyline, the writing style (i.e. Charly's reports) and the parable-like realisation of this book.