23 Nov 2011


Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogger buddies across the pond.


Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict, unbending routine. Her patients, cowered by mind-numbing 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 every one's beliefs about madness ..... who, of them all, is really insane?
....... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Part 1): They're out there.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 69): He'll still get up from time to time and wag his head and let us know how tired he is, but it's not a complaint or excuse or warning anymore - he's finished with that; it's like an old clock that won't tell time but won't stop neither, with hands bent out of shape and the face bare of numbers and the alarm bell rusted silent, an old, worthless clock that just keeps ticking and cuckooing without meaning nothing.

A difficult book for me to review as I keep having to restrain myself from comparing it with the 1975 film version starring Jack Nicholson which incidentally is very true to the book but not nearly as harrowing.

Set in a mental hospital, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest follows the exploits of a ward full of patients and the staff who 'care' for them.

Narrated by'Chief' Bromden who is believed to be both deaf and dumb, the story largely concentrates on new patient Randle Patrick McMurphy, the effect his arrival has on the other patients and his battle with the tyrannical, brutal 'big nurse' Ratched.

Funny, riotous, and yet of ultimately shattering consequences,  this is a novel that deals with mental illness in a honest and truthful way, a novel that does not shy away from certain things and as such is sometimes a difficult read.

Really all about a power struggle, rules and regulations, this is an eye-opener of a read that strives to look at the powers that keep the patients (us?) imprisoned.

Full of wonderful, occasionally scary, characters, we got to know a lot more about 'The Chief' Bromden than we ever did in the film version, catching glimpses into his life prior to his incarceration in the hospital, we also got an insightful view of how he believed the hospital regime was a machine.Then of course there's Nurse Ratched, totally controlling and seemingly without compassion, I spent a lot of time pondering just what exactly her life story was, just what had made her the heartless individual she appeared. And as for McMurphy? Hmm, a lovable rogue who had certain traits to his character that I found less than appealing, he nevertheless always seemed to come good in the end.

As I said not always a comfortable read, the descriptions of Electric Shock Therapy are truly harrowing, but despite all of this a well worth while read that I highly recommend.

A free book from some magazine or other, I only paid packaging and postage, this was the 96th book read for my 100+ Reading Challenge.


anilkurup said...

The very name brought back the film. I have not read the book. And I presumed that letters may not be as haunting as the way the movie unfurled in the end.

GMR said...

Happy Thanksgiving Tracey! ^_^
Enjoyed the review. Have heard a lot about the movie from my Mom actually....always said it was pretty good. Sounds like they might have made it a bit glossy for viewing audiences compared to the book, but the printed form sounds like it has potential nonetheless. Thanks for the share and congrats on the 96th book! Happy reading...

Alexia561 said...

Don't know that I would be able to read this as the movie version was so strong. Enjoyed your review, and congrats on reading 96 books this year! You're doing better than I am, but there's still hope! :)

Have a great day Tracy!

Kelly said...

Considering I saw the movie when it first came out, I don't remember that much about it. I imagine the book was quite good and would probably enjoy it. Perhaps someday....

Monalisa said...

Did really like the Memorable Moment. I should've loved the book too. Surely to grab it where I could get it.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I've never read this one or seen the movie in it's entirety. For some reason I always seem to see the same parts. Don't know why. LOL

I might have to get this one some day to read. Talk about horror book!

Jenners said...

It is hard to separate the book from the movie for this one. I remember the first time I read the book, I was a mess by the end.

Suko said...

You've nearly completed this reading challenge. I enjoyed this movie very much and have seen it a few times. Excellent review, Petty!

Dorte H said...

I am glad you liked this one. As you say, it is not exactly a comfort read, but still it is such a brilliant story.

And interestingly, it is a ´new´ classic which even most of my students like.