9 Best Books Like Flowers For Algernon Update 05/2022

Books Like Flowers For Algernon

Has Daniel Keyes’ endearing Charlie Gordon inspired you to seek out more works by the author, such as Flowers for Algernon?

It’s not surprising, given that his stunningly beautiful novella highlights the injustice that people with mental disabilities face at the hands of those who should know better, with a unique narrative offering an alternative perspective on what it’s like to live with a mental illness.

Algernon, a mouse, was the only one to have ever had an experiment like Charlie’s run on him, and so he sets out on a journey to find out if it’s possible for him to become intelligent and’smart’ like everyone else.

Charlie’s progress reports are used to tell the story. Charlie’s IQ jumps to a whopping 185 points as a result of the experiment, and we learn that it was a success for both Algernon and Charlie.

However, as he develops in intelligence, he also becomes more conscious of the harshness of human nature and the inherent tension between the faculties of emotion and reason.

You can fall in love with the characters in these books like Flowers for Algernon because they reveal their beautiful minds and souls.

Books like Flowers for Algernon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

As the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year and Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize winners, Chris Haddon’s debut novel, The Curious Incident of a Dog in Night-Time, was widely acclaimed.

It’s a mystery novel, narrated by 15-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone, who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioral difficulties,” though it’s never explicitly stated.

After discovering the body of his neighbors’ dog Wellington, Christopher decides to look into the matter, which proves to be difficult given his fears and difficulties interpreting and navigating the environment around him.

In addition to uncovering some startling revelations close to home, his investigation leads him to meet new people, do things he never would have done before, and travel alone to places that he never previously believed he could.

It’s a great follow-up to Flowers for Algernon for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, as Christopher is sure to fill any emotional void left by Charlie.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh

In Ottessa Moshfegh’s New York Times bestseller, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, the author explores the negative effects of the modern world on one’s mental health, particularly in terms of depression and anxiety, rather than a person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Though she is young, thin, wealthy, and attractive, the novel’s narrator should be content, she isn’t; she is fed up with the false materialistic beliefs of those around her and has had enough of everything.

After self-medicating to keep her awake for just a few hours each day, she decides to stay sedated and sleep for an entire year in an effort to reset her life and outlook on the world..

During the course of the film, we see her experiment with stockpiled drugs to get the dosage right, as well as some amusing escapades while under the influence.

Fans of books like Flowers for Algernon will find plenty to ponder in My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a fascinating, liberating do-it-yourself science experiment that is all too readily available.

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

The haunting American Classic by Sylvia Plath Despite the fact that The Bell Jar does not feature a likable hero like Charlie or Christopher, it does portray a person’s struggle to cope with the way their brain is wired while trying to find a place in the world.

Esther Greenwood, the protagonist of the novel, gradually loses her grip on reality as insanity’s chokehold tightens around her, a portrayal that should fascinate any reader of books like Flowers for Algernon..

It’s not that Esther isn’t beautiful, brilliant, and envied; it’s just that beneath the surface she’s struggling, and we see that struggle become more difficult as Plath draws the reader into her breakdown and makes us question, as Esther does, what’s real and what’s not.

It’s no surprise that The Bell Jar has endured as one of literature’s greatest works.

Is this a book you’ve already read? For more books like The Bell Jar, take a look at our list!

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

As a novel, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird is groundbreaking for many reasons, including its focus on racial injustice, the importance of standing up to injustice, and the treatment and mistreatment of the mentally disabled.

Even in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, where the novel is set, only legends and hearsay circulate about Boo because of rumors and abuse.

As tensions rise in the predominantly white neighborhood due to the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man who is accused of assaulting a white woman, local lawyer Atticus Finch is defending him.

By leaving gifts for Boo in his garden for Scout and Jem, Atticus’ children, Scout and Jem develop a crush on him and try to entice him out of his isolation by making him feel loved.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a moving read for those looking for books like Flowers for Algernon because it concludes with Scout reflecting on recent events from Boo’s perspective.

Have you read and loved this classic work of literature? Explore the rest of our To Kill a Mockingbird-like titles here!

More Than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon

As a fan of Flowers for Algernon, you’ll enjoy Theodore Sturgeon’s novel More than Human, which tells the story of six people with extraordinary abilities who come together to form an incredible new civilization.

Individually, the “Fabulous Idiot” group of six is considered a freak show, but in concert, they have the potential to “blesh” their unique abilities and usher in a new era of human evolution.

On top of all of that, there’s Lone, who can hear other people’s thoughts and convince them to do things they wouldn’t normally do, but he also has an uncanny ability to be a simpleton himself.

Sturgeon’s incredible imagination and pathos make More Than Human such a great read for Algernon fans as it emulates how Charlie and many of the characters in the books on this list spent their lives feeling and being terrorised for being different. They all struggle with who they are, trying to fit in and find comfort in the world.

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

George Milton and his simple-minded friend, the lovable Lennie Small are two outsiders who are both struggling to find their way in this unforgiving world and to survive the Great Depression in America in Of Mice and Men, one of John Steinbeck’s most enduring novels.

When it comes down to it, George and Lennie have nothing else in common but their shared dream of one day purchasing their own land. They work on a ranch to raise the money to do so. But their hopes are dashed by Lennie’s inability to cope with the extreme cruelty he endures, his unwavering love for those around him, and his complete lack of awareness of his own inner strength.

Flowers for Algernon is a book that deals with similar issues as Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s 2017 novel How to Stop Time has a lot in common with Flowers for Algernon when it comes to Charlie’s desire for what he doesn’t have and his disappointment when he doesn’t get it.

His appearance suggests he’s a typical 40-something man who has seen and done it all: He’s had drinks with Shakespeare, lived in Elizabethan England, enjoyed Paris’ Jazz Age and talked to Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald to name just some of the people he’s crossed paths with.

Despite the fact that Tom has a rare condition that has kept him alive for centuries, all he wants now is a normal life in a constantly changing world.

But even though it is not a book about mental inconsistency, it does touch on many of the same themes as the other books appearing here like feelings of loneliness and misunderstanding by others as well as a struggle to fully connect with people.

Tom’s invulnerability to human suffering echoes Charlie’s blissful ignorance of the ills of human nature, making How to Stop Time an especially moving read.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman swept the world when it was released in 2017 and it’s easy to see why.

With everything from her outfits and meals to her free time, Eleanor Oliphant has very little room for anyone else, let alone any deviations from her schedule, which is perfectly fine and exactly how she like to live. Life should be more than just fine, shouldn’t it?

With Raymond, the oafish IT guy she works with and Sammy, an elderly gentleman she helps and unwittingly begins to care for, Eleanor slowly and at times begrudgingly discovers that it should.

I loved Eleanor Oliphant’s story of friendship, acceptance, and how hard it can be to let people in.

Like Christopher in Haddon’s novel, Eleanor is a bit reclusive and has trouble relating to others, but she shares some traits with Charlie, such as an unpleasant past and coworkers who make fun of her quirks. Readers of Flowers for Algernon will be enthralled by her equally wonderful, complex, and captivating character.

Have you read this widely acclaimed book before? Check out our list of books that are similar to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine!

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

Finding true love isn’t always easy, especially if you have a different perspective on the world and find it difficult to connect with others on a social level.

Graeme Simsion’s brilliant novel The Rosie Project follows genetics professor Don Tillman, who is single and looking for a wife, but finds it difficult to interact with others because of his intelligence and stubborn mindset. Rosie Jarman is the perfect match for him because he came up with a clever set of questions to use in his search.

Rosie is a bartender, a smoker, a drinker, and frequently late – a far cry from what Don is looking for. They decide to be friends despite the lack of obvious attraction, and Don embarks on a journey to help Rosie find her biological father, a journey that takes them around the world to a place neither of them expected to arrive.

Even though it’s funny at times and heartbreaking at others, The Rosie Project is a wonderful read that can be related to on many levels and emphasizes how love, despite the fact that it often doesn’t make sense, cannot be found on paper.

List of books like Flowers for Algernon, which depict people who have their brains wired differently, are here for your perusal and enjoyment. They will break your heart while warming it at the same time, so have fun reading.

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