One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Book - 2003
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Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Kesey's work is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on literature. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2003, c1962.
ISBN: 9780143129516
Call Number: KESEY
Characteristics: xxii, 281 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Subjects: Psychiatric hospital patients -- Fiction.
Psychiatric hospitals -- Fiction.
Psychiatric nurses -- Fiction.
Nurse and patient -- Fiction.
Mentally ill -- Fiction.
Oregon -- Fiction.
Psychological fiction.
Medical fiction.


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Oct 20, 2019

Amazing! We read this is LA and it was very enjoyable. There is so much depth and many symbols. I believe anyone can relate to someone in the book (not because of their actions but because of their innermost desires, insecurities, etc). This book is very misogynistic, but I believe that it has redeeming qualities. Truly affected me emotionally. There are various quotes that I wrote down because they were worth remembering for me. Some of the quotes are just thoughts or observations and therefore I feel like the movie may be lacking. Need to get myself a copy of this book!

Oct 02, 2019

Having seen the movie first (albeit years ago) it was hard to separate RP McMurphy from Jack Nicholson's portrayal of him in the film (which was entertaining). Examines the struggle to find a place in the straight world of society for all the rebels, misfits, outcasts and insane out there. Does conformity help you, or does it control you?

Mar 22, 2018

Interesting read. A bit dated but a very in depth look at life in a mental institution in the 60's. A classic.

Aug 21, 2017

very telling and frightening allegorical tale of institutional control of people

ArapahoeTina Jul 31, 2017

If you've only seen the movie, you're missing out. McMurphy is a quintessential charismatic protagonist - flawed, but wholly likable. Kesey's rendering of the this character through the eyes of a fellow patient adds a level of depth not possible in a visual format. The narrator's backstory is heartbreaking as well and has literary merit worthy of its own exploration.

Apr 17, 2017

The reputation of this book made me expect it would be a more interesting read. I was determined to slog through it, but did not find many times when I was glad I was reading it. The subject matter is heavy and we are introduced into the mind of one of the inmates of the asylum to see how the ward and the staff look to him. It is dark and depressing and its tone reminded me of Catch-22.

Not sure I even want to try and watch the movie, but Jack Nicholson as McMurphy intrigues me. Perhaps watching the story on film will giving me a new appreciation of the book?

Mar 21, 2017

This book is set in a psychiatric ward of a mental hospital, and told through the perspective of a half Indigenous man who has been a patient at the ward for a very long time. He does not trust his surroundings, and he feels as though the “Big Nurse” it out to get him. After a new patient by the name of McMurphy joins the ward, chaos ensues as he questions the status quo and brings a humanizing light to the patients. The book is raw, clever, and touching as it looks at different structures in society and the treatment of the mentally ill. I would rate this book 4.5/5 stars and recommend it to those interested in seeing new perspectives. @The_Reviewer of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Ken Kesey's most famous novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is an, at times, surrealist novel that follows a male psychiatric ward in the 1950's turned upside down by the arrival of patient Randle Patrick McMurphy, a manly man who battles with Nurse Ratched, the totalitarian female nurse. Full of symbolism, Kesey's novel is often tough to read at times and would appear as misogynistic in these times: Nurse Ratched is nothing but a corrupt woman in power who wants to "emasculate" the men of their dignity and is ultimately attacked by McMurphy. However, the book is still in the canon and should be read if only for that reason. The male patients, such as Chief Bromden and Billy Bibbit are interesting and sympathetic characters that you feel for. McMurphy? Not so much.
- @reallylikesmusicals of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 02, 2016

Once the plot picks up there is a decent story. All the characters are entertaining. The supporting characters are well-crafted. It was good. Maybe a little better than good. But for me, it wasn't the makings of a classic

Apr 01, 2015

One of those books that couldn't be approached by the movie, Kesey did it so well. The best Ken Kesey ever wrote. Great book. Even if you saw the movie, you'll love it.

Mar 03, 2015

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is told from the point of view of ‘Chief’ Bromden, a towering, half Native American man stuck in an Oregon psychiatric hospital. Bromden observes the daily lives of the other patients, and watches as they passively suffer under the supposed ‘leadership’ of their main provider, Nurse Ratched. The patients’ normally uneventful lives are quickly ruffled by the arrival of a new patient, the loud and boisterous Randle McMurphy, who quickly has them questioning the iron rule of Nurse Ratched. As things in the hospital become more and more tense, Bromden is soon roped into McMurphy’s schemes.

This novel is an extremely enjoyable read. While “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” does start off slow, it quickly picks up and never slows down again. The characters are all unique and believable, and each one’s illness is well-researched. Each character helps to bring out the best and worst of the other characters, creating an interesting group dynamic. The plot is funny yet serious, as it deals with real issues of the time period and setting in a darkly humorous way. The mental hospital is an interesting setting, as it feels both spacious and cramped, and helps to bring across messages and ideas without them being forwardly said.

Overall, the author of this review highly recommends “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. It would make a great essay book or ‘book talk’ book, as it has lots of symbolism and deeper meanings. The author of this review believes this novel to be suitable for ages fourteen and up.

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Slavomir Jan 17, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Slavomir Jan 17, 2011

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Slavomir Jan 17, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


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AmandaVollmershausen Mar 23, 2013

AmandaVollmershausen thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Slavomir Jan 17, 2011


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Halfbloodprincess Jun 16, 2013

To Vik Lovell, who told me dragons did not exist, then led me to their lairs.


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