One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Author: Ken Kesey
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy – the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates. His struggle is seen through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute half-Indian patient who understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them imprisoned. Ken Kesey’s extraordinary first novel is an exuberant, ribald and devastatingly honest portrayal of the boundaries between sanity and madness.
Reading this book was a given for me. I had already seen the movie; plus I learned that they had used a working psych hospital and real patients for the movie. I found this gorgeous edition of the book and started reading. What a ride! I’ll admit that there’s not tons of action and the plot itself can be a little slow going, but the emotions and thinking and discussions and strategizing all make up for it!
This is one of those stories that has to be experienced in order to be understood. I will say this, the best thing to remember is that the narrator is a chronic psych patient. As long as that’s constantly understood, the perspective, surprisingly and ironically, makes much more sense! This is a book that will stick with you and you’ll be mentally gnawing on it for a good while after you finish! I also believe that everyone working in the mental health system should read this book! It’s so good, that I actually recommend it to everyone!
Now here is Kim’s Video Comparison of the movie: