Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kasey

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Title: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Author: Ken Kasey
Page Count: 325
Genre: Classics
Rating: 2.5 Stars
In this classic of the 1960s, Ken Kesey's hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, back by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Nurse Ratched uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story's shocking climax


Where do I begin with this book? I wanted so desperately to like it, I tried. I found a few moments that I actually enjoyed, but they were few and far between. I almost feel bad, this being such a renowned classic. I honestly think this may be just a me thing... but I just don't often like classic literature. I am waiting, very patiently, to like a classic book that I read.... one day it will happen.

Sadly, today is not that day.

So, I began reading One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest because we had to read it for AP Literature and Composition.... Already, my motivation to read this book had lessened due to this fact.

The book itself starts off pretty interesting with Chief Bromden introducing the mental hospital and how everyone is separated into Acutes and Chronics, those who can still be helped and those that are too far gone, respectively.

So basically this book is from Chief Bromden's POV and details his experiences in this mental hospital under the jurisdiction of The Big Nurse/Nurse Ratched. She uses many different tactics to get information out of the patients and does not hesitate to send them to a place called the Disturbed, and trust me, it is extremely disturbing, and when they go there during the last part of the book, my heart actually shattered a little bit.

This book is written in a style that makes it hard to read, because it is written in the way the character spoke during that time, and it makes it difficult to comprehend at times without reading it out loud.

Chief is an interesting character but, he didn't develop as I wanted him to until the very end of the novel. I really enjoyed his backstory and his family and learning about all of that.

The only person to ever challenge Nurse Ratched was a newly admitted redheaded Acute, named Randle McMurphy, but everyone calls him McMurphy. McMurphy is highly intelligent and brings up many points throughout the novel of the subjectivity of insanity and the different perceptions of such. He is a very rich character and overall I really enjoyed him. He does play some tricks on the other patients, tricking them into gambling away the little money that they still had left. He gets them to do some crazy things throughout the novel.

Ratched is interesting and intelligent and the banter/fighting/playing against each other was great and I loved every minute of their challenges against one another.

The side characters were interesting but some of them were completely unnecessary.

My favourite part BY FAR was the experiences in The disturbed, the pain they all felt was palpable and that was the main point where I felt guilty for these characters and I wanted better lives for them.

The ending was exactly what I wanted it to be, so that was another positive.

I guess my real problem with the book is it's slow paced style, and lack of... I don't exactly know what word I am looking for, I was just disappointed.

Consensus: Though One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is rich with characters and a battle of two alphas in a place where two alphas cannot exist, it lacks in something very important: the ability to draw the reader in and hold an engagement with them. It is muddled with different ways of speaking, and confusing plotlines, with characters not always meshing together as they should.

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