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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was one of the books on the 1001 Book list, and I would like to give this one 3.5 really, purely for the way it always caught me out with its fresh, often razor-sharp imagery of the warped human mind. The mind in question is none other than Chief Bromden, the supposedly deaf and mute narrator.

Bromden’s spectacular hallucinations alone should be reason enough for anyone to pick up this book and read it. They are quite unique, disturbing, and often (to my alarm) actually made sense on some level. Suffice it to say, they cut through the narrative like… well… like electric shock therapy! All the way through, it made me wonder if Kesey was writing from experience. The introduction to this edition was particularly enlightening, as it gave a lot of background information on Kesey’s involvement with drug testing during the 1960’s. Maybe he actually saw similar things when he was a volunteer during these sessions.

As hard as it was to actually get into this novel, I have come to believe that this is a must-read for those interested in psychiatric care. It’s inspirational and questions that fine (often too fine) line between sanity and real madness. Kesey made me reflect on just who really WERE the psychos in the novel – the staff or the inmates?

This took me much longer to read than I had anticipated, but I think I can say it was worth it. It’s one of those books that look good when you can claim to have read it.

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