One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

My eldest is a real film buff. He doesn’t just watch all the latest blockbusters, he’s watched all of the classic films from the last 50 years (unlike his mum, who only knows films from the 90s). One of his absolute favourite films is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He liked it so much, he decided to read the book.

And he liked the book so much, he decided to lend it to me – the resident bookworm. I haven’t seen the film, but I was happy to read the book. I like to try different genres and recommendations from other people, so I gave it a go.

And I was underwhelmed.

I just didn’t get it.

It dragged so much and nothing happened.

Maybe it was because it was written in 1962. Maybe books moved more slowly in those days, who knows? I haven’t read many books not written in the last 10 or 15 years.

To summarise, the book is set in a long-stay mental hospital. It’s narrated by Chief Bromden, a patient who everyone, staff and parents alike, believes to be deaf and dumb, but isn’t. The ward is ruled over by Nurse Ratched aka the Big Nurse and her strict routine of medication, electric shock therapy, rules, regulations and meetings. But all of that changes when McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson in the film) is admitted as a patient. He has no regard for the Big Nurse and her rules and does everything he can to break them and change them – and get the other patients on his side.

And so the book basically goes on for the best part of 400 pages. VERY little happens. Maybe that’s the genius of the writer in demonstrating the boring nature of being in a mental hospital. But it doesn’t make for very interesting reading.

I started to get slightly more interested about two thirds of the way through the book, but it was all a bit late by then. Then the three biggest incidents in the whole story happened in the last couple of pages. It would have been good to spread the action out a bit more, in my humble opinion.

Have you read it? Is it boring? Or am I just uncultured?

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Book review, Ken Kesey

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I’ve never read it but it’s one of those books I keep meaning to read. I’ve not seen the movie either but hear that it’s meant it be very good. Maybe I’ll just skip the book and watch the film!

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    • I think that sounds like a sensible idea! I still want to see the film. I guess it moves at a faster pace than the book, which would be good!

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  2. I’ve never been tempted to read the book but I do like Jack Nicholson so the film does appeal.

    You’re not at all uncultured, not every book appeals to everybody. This one just isn’t for you 🙂


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    • Thanks very much! I like that you say it isn’t for me, not that I’m uncultured! It’s actually very unusual for me not to enjoy a book.

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  3. I haven’t read it, in fact I’m not sure whether I knew there was a book or not. I don’t think it’s necessarily the age that’s the problem – it sounds like it isn’t very well plotted. Well done for ploughing through it. Interesting that your son liked it, but you didn’t.

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    • Thanks very much, I’ve never ever given up on a book! I guess my son liked it because he’s knows the storyline from the film.

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  4. I’ve not read it myself but I think I would react the same as you, I need something to grip me in the first few chapters to keep a story interesting. Thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe

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    • Thanks very much! I ploughed on with it, but it was hard work!

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  5. I have never even seen the film or read the book. I think I probably would have given in if it was boring though as if I am not hooked by the first chapter I give up xx

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    • I never give up on a book, but it’s disappointing when I don’t enjoy it as much as other books.

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  6. Well done on finishing it, I would of given up on it! I haven’t watched the film or read the book it just never interested me. Sounds like I haven’t missed much!

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  7. Iv’e not read the book or seen the movie so I’m not sure what i would make of it. Well done on reading till the end x #Readwithme

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