One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest: Entertaining, yet gutting // Rave Book Review

“It may not have happened exactly like this, but this is the truth, whether it happened or not.”

Summary:

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

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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

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***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.

17 Comments

  1. I’m the opposite – I’ve watched the movie (although it was years ago) but haven’t read the book. I found the movie to be very good and incredibly harrowing but I agree, sometimes you don’t get the character insight that you would get from reading a book. I always try and read the book if I’ve seen the movie and vice versa because I like the comparisons. I did find the movie of Cuckoo to be tough though so I’m too scared to read the book now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do want to try the movie again when I’m in the mood. I’ve heard great things about it, but I watched it right after I finished the book, and I think my positive feelings for the book made me a bit biased. 🙂

      Although I do highly recommend the book! It’s quite different from the movie because you get inside Chief’s head rather than McMurphy’s, which I find very insightful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Eeeeep I am so mad at myself for not reading the book first! I watched the movie when I was in school and loved it so much! (Of course, the reading experience was probably better) but I did enjoy the movie a lot! I do still want to read the book, but I feel like it’s not going to be the same since I already know the plot of the story. Great review! Oooh and I’m intrigued for your upcoming review 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the movie! I really do need to try it again because it’s apparently quite highly acclaimed, and I want to delve into the differences a bit more. And I think you won’t have any issue with reading the book! It’s narrated from Chief’s POV, so I think it’ll provide enough new things for you to be surprised by. 😉 Cheers!!

      Like

  3. Definitely going to check this out then! A realistic look into public opinions of mental illness + well fleshed out characters? And McMurphy sounds like a fascinating character to just watch the influence of. Fantastic review! (and I’m very curious about, but strangely worried about, your Wednesday review now)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really easy to follow, so I hope you do! It’s one of my favorite classics to re-read. 😉
      And haha, no worries! My rant’ll only be a little bit scathing…plus a bit more? lol Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I must admit I haven’t read this book yet despite being on my radar for years. Your passionate review definitely peaked my interest in it again though. I am actually really looking forward to reading it now as I think I will enjoy it. 😊 Great review and thanks.
    And bring on that rant, can’t wait to read it tomorrow. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I highly recommend it! It’s very easy read to read I feel. 😉 And thank you so much! Haha we’ll see about that rant; trying not to foam at the mouth, so hopefully it turns out civil enough. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will read it for sure. Circe and The Glass Castle are first then One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
        I’m so so so curious now! And foaming at the mouth is allowed by the way… as long as it helps of course! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Really glad this ended up being so good! I like how this sounds upbeat whilst dealing with really dark themes. And your comparisons with other gatsby and dorian gray (two of my favourite classics) make me even more keen to check it out 😀 Fantastic review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this review! This is one of those classics that I have wanted to pick up for YEARS but now I am even more determined to seek out a copy of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

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