Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book of Choice: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

I saw the movie years ago and at the time, I didn't like it much, apart from the scene where Chief Bromden says thanks for the chewing gum. But it stayed with me and I remember it vividly although I have never seen it again.

I suspect that the book will stay with me as well. I loved it right from the start and the McMurphy in the book even managed not to look like Jack Nicholson in my mind after only a few pages. Often, it's hard to get rid of the actors' faces when you read the book after seeing the movie, but that wasn't a problem here.

The book is intense and I enjoyed the voice of Chief Bromden who acts as our eyes and ears, at first only watching, but then taking more and more part in the action. It may take some getting used to because he includes us into his hallucinations and beliefs, but for me, that was part of the attraction. Some of the paragraphs in which he hallucinates about the machines that control life on the ward, as he believes, are striking in their wild and creepy imagery.

The book explores the theme of sane vs insane/normality as it is decided on by the majority, something which has always interested me. Very few of the patients come across as insane, most are just different and have retreated to the psychiatric ward to hide from a society that demands that they fit in at all costs.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey is my fifth book of the Library Challenge


  1. It is intense and has stayed with me. I hadn't seen the film when I first picked it up, but I'd guess you're right it wouldn't be much of a problem here.

    Which level of the challenge are you taking? At this rate all year you'd go mega.

  2. I haven't decided on a specific level, I thought I'd see how it turns out. But since this is my normal reading speed, I do think I can make it 50 book easily.