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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

February 11, 2014

One Flew OverPatients at the mental hospital, like narrator Chief Bromden follow the dictatorial rule of Nurse Ratched. Never has anyone questioned her authority–until Randle McMurphy checks into the ward.  He challenges the patients to defy Nurse Ratched and embrace ideas that may not be viewed as acceptable to society. His efforts towards resisting authority end in heartbreaking results.

I rated this book a definite ten out of ten.  Kesey created characters that never failed to interest me.  From page one I was intrigued by the thorough visuals provided by the narrator, Chief.  The details Kesey uses create images that ring true.  The strong characters and precise descriptions add to the tragic, thoughtful story.

This novel is an allegory, but the rich sensory imagery makes the story feel real, like a memoir. Symbolism is a technique utilized throughout this story. Kesey crafts an emerging theme through his characters. He deals with the ideas of responsibility and freedom, through acts of rebellion— an idea inspired by American culture throughout the mid-twentieth century. Kesey’s experimentation with character development is brilliant and results in a touching theme that continues to disturb me.

I recommend this novel to mature readers who enjoy strong character-driven plots.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest was not only the best book I read last year, but it is also part of the Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century.  For decades this book has astonished its readers, and I hope it will astonish you, as well.


Publisher: Penguin Group, 277 pages

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