Welcome back to On This Bookish Day, where one day of the month I will honour an important literary date in history. I’ll tell you a little about the author and review one of their books.
So, on this bookish day:
June 15th – Daniel Keyes died, 2014
Keyes was born in New York in 1927. He went to New York University for a short time before joining the New York Maritime Service, when he was 17. He later returned to New York to earn his bachelor degree in psychology.
After graduating he went to the publishing company Magazine Management, where he became one of their editors for Marvel Science Stories. Keyes then began writing for their comic books line, Atlas Comics (which eventually evolved to become Marvel Comics). Magazine Management eventually changed to publishing paperbacks and men’s adventure magazines. At that point Daniel Keyes was an associate editor of Atlas, under Stan Lee. He wrote a synopsis for the idea that later became Flowers for Algernon: “The first guy in the test to raise the I.Q. from a low normal 90 to genius level … He goes through the experience and then is thrown back to what was.” Keyes recalled, “[S]omething told me it should be more than a comic book script.” He never submitted it to Stan Lee.
Flowers for Algernon was published as a short story in 1959, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. In 1966 Keyes turned the short story into a full novel. At that time Keys started teaching creative writing and English at Ohio University.
He died in his home on June 15th, 2014, from complications of pneumonia.
A few random facts:
- He was awarded the Author Emeritus honour by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2000
- Keyes novel, The Minds of Billy Milligan, was adapted into a 2008 movie The Crowded Room.
- Won the Nebula Award
There are not a lot of facts on this guy, I tried my best to find some interesting stuff.
This is the modern classic Flowers for Algernon. It is about Charlie, a man with a low IQ. He undergoes a surgery that has previously only been tested on mice, to raise his intelligence. The story then follows how he changes as his intelligence changes.
I loved this book!! I had read some excerpts in high school, and I remember enjoying it. But I am so glad that I finally took the time to read the full story.
The writing was perfect to fully immerse you in Charlie’s life. The story is told from journal entries written by Charlie. As his intelligence changes, you can see his vocabulary and spelling changing as well. The most interesting aspect for me wasn’t just the IQ changing but his ability to comprehend. The question I had been asking myself is if your mind ability changes does that mean your personality changes too? Well you guys will have to read to find out how Daniel Keyes told it.
The character development was amazing, slow and realistic changes. This is a book that made me think. I asked myself, “Is ignorance bliss?”, and after reading this book I can honestly say I still have no idea. I think everyone should read this book, we can all take something out of this novel.
Have you guys read this modern classic?