13 August 2015

REVIEW: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey)

"The duty of youth is to challenge corruption."
~ Kurt Cobain

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Image via Behance.
I've been hinting at a review for this novel for a while, most recently in the previous post, which you can read here.

Well, I recently read this book because it was part of a summer reading assignment that I had to complete. I was planning on reading this book eventually anyway, at some point in my lifetime, because it's considered a "classic," and I want to read as many classics as I can in the future.

My copy of the book, which has 325 pages (small pages, compact and sort-of-tiny font), took about a month and a half for me to finish. I thought that the story was slow to get started and, after the beginning of the plot, the novel's pace fluctuated. There was one point around the middle of the book (that is, during the pages in the mid-100s) where it became significantly more interesting to me, then slowed down again. I was also captivated by the novel's ending.

Image via readingrexy.wordpress.com.
This is a pattern I see with some older and classic books that I get my hands on: I'm rather bored in the beginning and throughout half the plot, and sometimes I'm not very motivated to continue reading the story (but I have a tendency to continue regardless), but then the ending hits me so hard and I'm left thinking at the end of it, Wow, I judged that book waaaaayy too soon.

If you need another example, read my review of To Kill a Mockingbird.

But, let's go back to this book. Its characters were the best part for my experience. Each person is individually crafted, well-rounded and diverse from the next person. Each character is suited with their own thoughts, feelings, problems, behaviours, and mannerisms. I like the fact that a lot of Chief's background is told to the reader through flashbacks to his background.

I also feel like the time period in which the story is set is a major factor in how the plot plays out. The mid-twentieth century was a period when, practically, stigma was invented. And, of course, the lobotomy that was performed on McMurphy would never, ever be condoned in modern psychiatric settings.

My final criticism is that the ending was a little fuzzy for me. I understood the big points, like Billy Bibbit's suicide and McMurphy's assault on Nurse Ratched, but the part when Chief smothered McMurphy was so sudden and shocking that I found it confusing. I had to do a bit of research on Yahoo! Answers in order to straighten the facts out.

So, in conclusion:

Step 1: Read the book. (Mission accomplished!)
Step 2: Watch the film adaptation. (To be accomplished.)


What's your favourite "classic" novel? Comment below!

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