“It may not have happened exactly like this, but this is the truth, whether it happened or not.”
This book is narrated from the perspective of Chief Bromden, a half-Indian man who is committed to a mental institution in the 1950’s. He has fooled the nurses into believing that he is mute and deaf, which allows him to quietly observe the thrilling revolution that the new patient McMurphy brings into their insensate lives.
***Genre: Classic, Fiction
My thoughts? I sobbed floods.
This book is probably one of my favorite classics of all time. When I first picked it up unsuspectingly a few years ago, little did I know how much I would come to love it as I came to laugh my tush off at the silly shenanigans in the psych ward, and the clumsy yet heartwarming evolution of the downtrodden wards made me smile.
Because by goodness, what an engaging cast! Under McMurphy’s positive influence, the mental patients in this book evolve in ways that are all at once trivial yet significant, and it was an inspiring progression similar to that of teenagers learning to love themselves again; this cast is flawed, realistic, and pitiful, yet they’re so colorful and endearing that I could not help falling in love them as both individuals and a collective ensemble.
It is also highly fascinating to see how our protagonist McMurphy himself changes over the course of the story. He is rowdy, uncouth, and generally quite self-centered when he arrives at the ward, yet this book takes turns into more somber territories as it projects Biblical allegories upon this character, and it was both inspiring and unnerving to see what kind of god-like figure he became to these lost, child-like patients.
And geez Louise, that ending. This book employs humor to divert your attention from certain harbingers of heartache, and thus I was unable to anticipate the climax at all. Even after reading the finale multiple times, the emotions remain raw and moving (I literally end up a sobbing mess after each re-read) and such visceral feels are what makes this book so powerful and inspirational a journey to me.
So yeah, this book is a chipper read, but it really is quite dark when you look past its humor (as is the case with most classics). There are things being said about how society treated those with mental illness back in the fifties, and even now I strongly believe it is very relevant in that regard, so I highly urge people to read this.
“I had to keep on acting deaf if I wanted to hear at all.”
Final thoughts: Fun, thought-provoking, devastating.
This book is fun and easy to read. It’s highly plot and character-driven in much the same fashion as Dorian Gray and Great Gatsby, yet there are imagery and mind-boggling twists that had me reeling for days on end. It’s very well-balanced, and I can assure that the feels will not disappoint. Not in the least.
My rating: 5/5 frogs
***By the way, I have not seen the film. I started it, but I found it more simplistic than the book, so I stopped. Granted, the acting is great, but I personally prefer the introspective windows you get into the characters’ heads from the book. But that’s just me.
***And as an update, I will be posting either a tag or a rant review this coming Wednesday. I don’t know why I felt the need to announce this, but the rant is going to be quite a blood bath, so I thought I might as well go ahead and soften the blow in advance. See you on the other side.