75. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey)


My commute has been made more interesting as I listened to the audio book of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest this week.  I am probably one of few who had never read the book, watched the movie, or heard about the storyline so I was SHOCKED by the ending.  Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the ending for anyone who has not experienced this 1962 classic novel!

Although I had not seen the movie, I could almost hear Jack Nicholson’s voice and picture him through the narration.  His character, McMurphy, had been committed to the mental institution as a way of getting out a prison work camp.  He joined an interesting group of patients and caused a lot of drama on the ward.  He did not get along with Nurse Ratched who ran the ward in a very strict fashion and engaged in an ongoing power struggle to undermine her power and authority.

He befriended (and at times swindled) the other patients.  They admired his brash attitude and his ability to challenge Nurse Ratched and the orderlies.  He helped them gain additional privileges, arranged a fishing outing and secretly smuggled in a prostitute and alcohol into the institution for a night of fun that changed everything.

The book ended as I pulled into my driveway and I have to admit, that I am still thinking about the ending.  I was totally shocked by the outcome and would welcome comments about the book or the movie.  This review is short as I can’t continue without spoiling the ending.

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