Book Review: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

By, Pagan Phelan (special to The Weekly Fog)

Are you in for a rebellious book, a book about “going against the Man” (or woman in this case)?  If so, then this is the book for you. If not, then I suggest you put the book and the review down immediately. Otherwise, you are in for a treat. “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” has almost every suspense filling subject from prostitution to suicide to drugs, and to top it off it all happens in a mental hospital. I highly reccommend this book for anyone that is looking for a little more excitement.

“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” is a 20th Century novel written by Ken Kesey. It starts with the story of Chief Bromden, a six foot seven Columbian Indian who suffers from a multitude of problems, and has been in the hospital longer than anyone else. When a new comer arrives at the hospital, a man named Randal McMurphy, Bromden knows something is different right from the start. Aside from his multiple tattoos and scars, McMurphy is a tall redheaded fellow who loves to laugh and cause trouble. He was sent to the hospital from a prison work camp after the courts decided he was a psychopath, because he was getting into too many fights and having sex with too many women. After only couple days staying at the hospital, he experiences daily meetings where the head nurse, Miss Ratched, forces all the patients against each other to target their weakest points. McMurphy right off the bat knows that Nurse Ratched is up to no good. So, having a problem with gambling, he makes a bet with the rest of the patients that he can make her “crack” in a week. He does eventually get her to break, when she screams at him and the rest of the patients for quitting their work to sit in front of the T.V. and watch the World Series. And that’s not even half of the book.

This book arguably does not have a happy ending, but it all depends on how you look at it. I’m not going to give away any of the details or spoil anything for you, so you’ll just have to figure things out for yourself. If you are an optimist, you have a happy ending but if you are a pessimist then not everyone lives happily ever after. Either way, this is a very eventful book and a joy to read. But once again, this book is not for the faint hearted. I suggest reading something else if you are easily upset.

The thing that is great about this book is that it is full of defiancy and rebellion and always keeps you on your toes. You feel the same hatred McMurphy does for Nurse Ratched and you hallucinate with Bromden as he drifts away in the fog. You understand the patients and you want them to get out just as much as they do because you know just as well as anyone else that there is nothing wrong with them. They are misunderstood. It is  understood that if we were growing up in the 1960’s, we would probably be in that hospital with them. You understand what they go through as you read about Billy’s stutter or Harding’s pretty hands. They know why they’re in there, they know what’s wrong with them, but as you read, they’re just like everyone else.

Overall, this is the book to read if you’re looking for something strange and different. It definitely isn’t your average book. It is unforgettable, it is brilliant and you will never find another character like Randal Patric McMurphy. He really ties this whole novel together, making this a truly outstanding book and an impressive read.

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