50 Books- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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50 Books- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Where did I get the book and how many pages?

I honestly cannot remember where I got this book.  Most likely ordered from amazon.com, as I have so few options to find good, English language books.  Wherever it came from it clocked in at 324 pages.

Have I read this book before?

Nope.  The opportunity never presented itself, and it was not a book I sought out.

What do I already know?

I went into this one knowing nothing.  After the first five pages I glanced at the back cover and saw it was about a guy in a mental hospital and was the origin of Nurse Ratched.  Maybe 25 pages in my husband informed me it was a movie with Jack Nickolson.  I almost wish he hadn’t told me, because I am sure it influenced how I saw the character, but in truth I think he would be perfect.  (I know about the movie now, I haven’t seen it.)

What do I think now?

When I started, I wasn’t excited.  I mean, seriously, not into the book.  I could not have cared any less, and I wasn’t really into it.  I had already read The Bell Jar, and had a committed person book I was loving.  I wasn’t sure I could like this one; it just didn’t seem like my style of book.  I mean, it was all about a testosterone fueled, swaggering, loud mouthed guy causing trouble; not my thing, but thanks.

Within about fifty pages, I was hooked.  Okay, yeah, McMurphy is everything I already said, but he was also incredibly smart and intuitive.  He knew how things were, and could see exactly what was really going on with everyone.  He read the patients, the nurses, the doctors, and could see their buttons.  He knew just how far he could push, and exactly what he could get away with before the consequences were past what he could deal with.  It doesn’t mean he always stuck within those limits, but he was smart.  The obnoxious layer everyone could see was truth, but it was also a cover; no one would look past that outside to see everything else he was.  He painted his outside in such a way that people could not see the depth within him.  More than that, he did more good for the patients than the doctors did, even if it didn’t seem like he should have.  His methods were strange, but he brought about real change.

The end of the story is heartbreaking, but I honestly could not see it ending any other way.  This story wasn’t really meant to have a happy ending.

Should you read this book before you die?

Yes.  Absolutely.  There is so much going on here, and it is such a good story about fighting what is keeping you down.  It might not be the happy inspiration you need, but it is still worth the work.

Coming up next, is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy followed by Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

Happy Reading Everyone!


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