Friday, August 10, 2007

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Rating: 10/10

Published: 1962
Number of pages: 393
ISBN: 0141024879

Started: 26 July 2007
Finished: 3 August 2007

Summary (taken from blurb):

Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict, unbending routine. Her patients, cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy, dare not oppose her. But everything changes with the arrival of McMurphy - the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin. McMurphy battles Nurse Ratched and the ward regime, challenging everyone's beliefs about madness...who, of them all, is really insane?

Beware! Contains possible spoilers!

This is a brilliant book - every bit as good as everyone says it is. The ending was a bit of a surprise to me, and heart-breaking. It reminded me a bit of Of Mice and Men, which I read a couple of months ago (I cried at the end of both books).

McMurphy is a wonderful character, probably one of my favourites in literature, and I loved his relationship with the Chief. He made such a wonderful impact on the lives of the other patients, which Kesey portrayed beautifully in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. I loved seeing the Chief change and become more aware of his surroundings (with the lifting of the fog) and, of course, when he began speaking again.

I watched the movie immediately afterwards and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I think the book is much better. Both book and movie very highly recommended.

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