Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Author: Ken Kesey
Started reading: October 13th 2019
Finished the book: November 3rd 2019
Pages: 325
Genres: Fiction, Classic
Published: February 1st 1963
Source: Kindle Copy
Goodreads score: 4.19
My score:
Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy.
But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy – the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates. His struggle is seen through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute half-Indian patient who understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them imprisoned.
Ken Kesey's extraordinary first novel is an exuberant, ribald and devastatingly honest portrayal of the boundaries between sanity and madness.

My thoughts
Thanks to Arjen for doing this buddyread with me and for introducing me to this book! What a rollercoaster ride this book was. It's been a while that I couldn't sleep because of a book, but this book did it for me. I had no idea while reading where the story would go and how it would end. Even though I had trouble understanding the story in some scenes, I still was moved by the ending and found it fitting to the book.

  • Curious: While reading the book I was curious how the story would unfold. In some books I can try and guess, and sometimes I guess the right plot. This book was hard to guess for me. I had no idea where the story would go and how it would end. That made it an exciting read for me.
  • McMurphy: My favorite character in this book! He is so relaxed, annoying and smart. I love how, as a reader, you can just see how he's playing people and the other characters are clueless about this. The fact that he's a naughty person and just doesn't care about the ruling party in the mental hospital makes the story light and fun to read.
  • Big issues: The fact that McMurphy is fun and full of humor is in contrast with the big issues in this book. It's a book from the 60's and I believe that it points out some problems in society and the way people were treated in mental hospitals. It was a bold move from the author to write something like that, but the way he did it was so well done. The big issues vs. the funny scenes in the book made it easy to get through.
  • Something bad is going to happen: I felt impending doom hanging over the characters heads for about the final 20% of the book. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I felt that something BAD was going to happen... Oh boy, was I right!
  • Confusing: Some parts of the book were very confusing to me. We follow the story through the eyes of one of the patients. But at certain scenes in the book he is hallucinating or under influence from the medicines or something like that. I could not understand anything what was happening at that point and it was all kinda confusing to me.
A very moving story. It was fun at times and sad at times, but I enjoyed reading this book so much. I cared about the characters and was curious what was to come the whole time. The feeling that something bad was going to happen was so strong in this book and the ending made me lie in bed WIDE awake...

Other opinions on this book
"A work of genuine literary merit. What Mr. Kesey has done in his unusual novel is to transform the plight of a ward of inmates in a mental hospital into a glittering parable of good and evil."
- The New York Times

"The final triumph of these men at the cost of a terrifying sacrifice should send chills down any reader's back. This novel's scenes have the liveliness of a motion picture."
- The Washington Post

Memorable quotes from this book
"Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing."

"All I know is this: nobody's very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down."

"What do you think you are, for Chrissake, crazy of somethin'? Well you're not! You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole out walkin' around on the streets and that's it."

Thanks for reading!
I'd love to talk books; please let me know what you think about this book/review.



  1. whoa, I never exactly looked into this book before. It sounds good. And your Con actually made me more interested. I'm curious of the unreliable perspective.


Leave a comment, I love to discuss books and anything else!

~ Esther