Here’s why you should read ‘Flowers for Algernon’ by Daniel Keyes

Trigger warning: This novel mentions scenes about animal testing and contains slurs that are considered derogatory in this day and age. It’s important to remember that this book was written in 1959––a time when animal testing may not have yet been questioned and people were not as socially-conscious of the words they used to describe individuals with disabilities. Given this, I’d like to mention that I don’t condone some of the words and scenes mentioned in this novel and that I take it solely as a work of fiction. 

At least once in your life, you might have encountered the idiom of “putting yourself in another person’s shoes” in order to understand them. 

Whether this saying was told to you by a friend, colleague, or family member, you’ve most likely taken their advice and tried to imagine yourselves in other people’s situations. Oftentimes, this gives you a clearer picture of what the other person is going through and allows you to better empathize with them.  

This particular sentiment is exemplified in the book Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.


It’s a story that explores the mind and experiences of Charlie Gordon, a 32-year-old man with a learning disability who undergoes surgery in an effort to make himself “smarter” and more “normal.”  

Through Charlie’s progress reports, you (as a reader) will get to witness all the challenges, accomplishments, and emotions Charlie goes through as he experiences the effects of the surgery. And when he notices Algernon––the mouse that has undergone the same experiment as him––seemingly regressing long after its surgery, it begs the question: will the same fate await Charlie in time? 

Flowers for Algernon is a beautiful yet somewhat heartbreaking story that most people should read about. In fact, here are a few good reasons why you should consider picking up the novel for yourself: 

The writing is great and immersive

The book begins with Charlie’s entries before the surgery. Through these initial reports, Keyes shows readers how Charlie is quite different from the other people around him. This is emphasized in Charlie’s earlier progress reports, wherein he would often misspell words and use the wrong grammar and punctuation in his sentences. 

However, as the book progresses, you’ll slowly see the change in the writing, highlighting Charlie’s increased mental development after the surgery. And the way Keyes wrote this was so gradual that it’s only when you focus on the words on the page, you’ll notice a big difference in the way Charlie documents his progress. 

It’s this aspect of the book that really allows you to see first-hand how the surgery is affecting Charlie and how it’s changing the way he views the people and the places around him. This, in turn, makes the book immersive and draws the reader in towards the story. 

You’ll be turning every page until you realize you’ve actually finished the story! Via GIPHY

And I’m not the only one who feels this way about the book. A number of people reported on the book review platform Goodreads about being affected by the story. 

One reviewer wrote, “I am finding it hard to put into words the vast range of emotions I experienced while reading this tale of hope, perseverance, truth and humanity.” And another online user described it as “captivating and heartbreaking.” 

The book lets you think about the question: What makes a person human? 

One aspect the book frequently touches on is the idea of what makes a person human. It begs the questions: Is it their IQ that makes them human? Is it measured by their ability to process emotions?  Is it gauged by the accomplishments they have? Or is it just the fact that they’re alive and breathing that makes them a person worthy of love and respect? 

These questions all come to mind as the reader sees how other people interact with Charlie, especially before his surgery. In the early days, you can clearly see how badly Charlie was treated; and when he got his surgery done and he was getting more and more intelligent, people around him started viewing him differently. 

The truth is Charlie was already human even before his surgery––capable of feeling emotions and making memories. And this point is clearly emphasized in the many events in the novel. 

Moreover, it shows that even people with disabilities can leave their mark on the world. Through the character of Charlie, readers can see that any person (with good intention) can make a huge difference to those around them. 

In Charlie’s case, it was about helping others like him who may undergo the same operation.  As Charlie said, “If I can find out and if it adds, even one jot of information to whatever else has been discovered about intellectual disabilities* and the possibility of helping others like myself, I will be satisfied. Whatever happens to me, I will have lived a thousand normal lives by what I might add to others not yet born. That is enough.” 

Overall, it is a meaningful and timeless story that deserves more attention from today’s generation. And it easily is one of the five-star books I’ve read this 2022. 

Here’s to hoping you’ll give Flowers for Algernon a try! 

 (*word was replaced to make it more politically-correct

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‘The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue’ is a five-star read that you’ll surely remember

I’ll be honest–it’s been a while since a novel has drawn me in and excited me. Many of the books I’ve recently finished have all been three-star reads, interesting enough but not memorable. 

However, when my friend recommended The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab for our book club, little did I know, this would become my first five-star book read of 2022. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue tells the story of twenty-three-year-old French girl Adeline “Addie” LaRue who sold her soul to the darkness to gain her freedom. Unbeknownst to Addie, this exchange comes with a terrible price; because along with her freedom comes the catch of being forgotten by everyone she meets. 

You see, when Addie talks to a friend or family member or makes a connection with someone new, she inevitably faces the future of them not being able to remember her. And even when she tries to leave her mark–via written notes or drawings–she will find them being erased and returned to its original blank slate. Because of this, Addie isn’t able to leave a mark, making her almost “invisible” to everyone she comes in contact with. 

For 300 years since she made that deal, she has struggled with this type of existence… that is, until she meets bookstore seller Henry who is unfazed by her curse and remembers every little encounter and detail about her.


Describing it as a mix between The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Time Traveler’s Wife, I’d say Addie LaRue is a page-turner that will leave you feeling all types of emotions, from sadness about Addie’s situation to a sense of hope when she finally meets Henry. It’s a literal roller coaster ride that will have you experiencing “all the feels.”

I was literally crying by the end of this novel. Via GIPHY

Moreover, V.E. Schwab’s writing style is so descriptive and immersive that you will feel like you’re actually in the story. And with the time jumps, you, as a reader, can really envision that specific point in history wherein Addie’s story takes place and see how it’s affected her life. 

Schwab also uses alternating viewpoints between chapters, so you’re able to empathize with these fictional characters and remember them for all their beautiful, messed-up, broken, and (very) human experiences. 

In fact, Stardust author Neil Gaiman describes the book, “for someone damned to be forgettable, Addie LaRue is a most delightfully unforgettable character, and her story is the most joyous evocation of unlikely immortality.”

Lastly, I found a plethora of wonderful and relatable lines throughout the course of this novel, and I think this is a testament to Schwab’s wonderful storytelling. I particularly loved the following lines from the novel: 

“Books, she (Addie) has found, are a way to live a thousand lives––or to find strength in a very long one.” 

“The nicest days are always the ones we don’t plan.” 

“Nothing is all good or all bad. Life is so much messier than that.” 

It reportedly took Schwab ten years to complete the novel and her hard work really shows just how great the story came to be.

Via GIPHY

I really encourage everyone to go and read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and I can’t wait to read more books from the author moving forward. 

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Three important lessons I learned from the book ‘I Decided to Live as Me’

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When I was around thirteen or fourteen-years-old, I remembered my teacher telling me and my classmates to create a projection map as to where we would see ourselves ten years from now. At that time, I pasted pictures showing what I wanted to be as a twenty three or twenty four-year-old adult–this included having a house of my own, a stable job, and a husband. Little did I know that attaining all of those things isn’t easy. And now, in my late 20s, I am starting to question all the goals and aspirations I had initially planned in my life. 

But thanks to my friend Ves, who introduced me to the Apop published book ‘I Decided to Live as Me, I was able to avoid what could have been a quarter life crisis. 

Written and illustrated by Korean author Soo-hyun Kim and translated to English by Ma. Kristina Carla Rico and Kyung-min Bae, this book gave me a better perspective on life and helped me understand that adulting is hard and messy–but there’s no other way to live through it than by being yourself.


Here are three valuable lessons I got from reading the book: 

Life is not a horse race–and it’s okay to not always be in the lead  

Whenever we attend reunions among relatives, friends, or former classmates, it’s inevitable not to get jealous over their stories of success. Whether it’d be that they recently got promoted in a job that they love or that they got engaged to the supposed “love of their life,” it’s easy to start comparing your life and your accomplishments to theirs. And sometimes, when you realize that the way you live is not “up to par” with theirs, you feel disappointed and upset. 

Personally, I understand what this feels like and thinking about this often leads me down a path of depression. But reading I Decided to Live as Me reminded me that life isn’t a competition and that your growth and development is something worth celebrating–despite it being gradual and slow.


Remember, your worth is not determined by comparing your list of accomplishments with others, but it is based by how you see value in yourself. As the book explained, “True value isn’t measured in numbers. Therefore if you want to be incomparable rather than senior, you should eliminate numbers from your life. What is truly important in your life lies beyond numbers.”  

‘Haters gonna hate’–but that shouldn’t stop you from living your life 

It’s an undeniable fact that not everyone’s going to like you or be a friend to you. And as you go through adulthood, you will meet a series of people who are like this–with some even shooting you down with their harsh words and criticisms. 

When this happens, it’s easy to feel defeated and worthless. But remember their words are not a reflection of you and what you can accomplish–it is a reflection of them and their insecurities. And this book reminds me of this sentiment. 

The author wrote, “We get hurt, numb our hearts, and develop hatred dealing with these people’s  personal frustrations disguised as business-related, insults presented as worries, and rudeness posed as questions. [But] Even if we numb our hearts, moan to ourselves, and hate these people; they are just passersby in our lives.”


At the end of the day, what matters is how you see yourself. So, forget the haters and just continue doing you! 

Via Giphy

Don’t forget who you are and what you love 

For many of us, working endlessly has become the norm, turning us into lifeless robots that value money over anything else. And the problem with this scenario is that we end up being unhappy.

As the book effortlessly explained, “People who suppress their desires in order to do what they have to do lose sense of what they like, what they want, and eventually, who they are. Their life remains in the spectrum of the unknown since they’re never able to discover the life they want.”

I Decided to Live as Myself reminds us that although we have to succumb to the daily grind, we shouldn’t forget to give time to ourselves and explore the things we are passionate about. Whether this is writing short stories or creating memes, take a few minutes from your day (or week) to enjoy doing these activities. 

In the end, I think you will be happy to know that you’ve lived your life balancing work with the things you love. And who knows, maybe someday you can even be able to turn your passion into full-fledged business? 

Via Giphy

There are so many wonderful things readers can learn from the book. And thanks to Apop, you can now enjoy a 7.5% discount from the total price when you use the promo code CMWxAPOP at checkout.


Click here to visit the website and purchase a copy of I Decided to Live as Me today!

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