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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  377,707 ratings  ·  5,168 reviews
In this classic of the 1960s, Ken Kesey's hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, an ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 325 pages
Published February 1st 1963 by Signet (first published 1962)
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Gail Ritter I just ordered an illustrated copy off eBay...it says illustrated by Joe Sacco and Ken Kesey. There were several copies for sale, if anyone wants to…more I just ordered an illustrated copy off eBay...it says illustrated by Joe Sacco and Ken Kesey. There were several copies for sale, if anyone wants to check it out. You can tell which one it is; it has a comic-book style graphic cover on it.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Samara Steele
Last night, at about 2 am, I finished 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' by Ken Kesey.

I lay awake for a long time afterward, watching the bars of light on the ceiling, holding my eyes open until the pupils dilated enough to shrink the light, then I'd blink and have to start all over.

Finally I sat up and turned on the lights.

The book had done something to me. Like it'd punched me in the face and said, "Do something, you idiot!"

So I gathered up a bunch of sentimental shit from around my apartment
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Milo
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. The writing and imagery are superb and I always love a "down with tyrannical overloads, generic living, and medicalization" moral, but its other lesson leaves me cringing. In the basic knowledge I have of Ken Kesey, the book ultimately seems very misogynistic and anti-feminist. I'm all for a gender balance, but this book botches up the entire process in a method that purposely lacks tongue-in-cheek flair.

Basically, the plot seems to involve men me
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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 07, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Time 100, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
"Ting. Tingle, tingle, tremble toes,
She’s a good fisherman, catches hens, puts ‘em inna pens
Wire blier, limber lock, three geese inna flock
One flew east, one flew west
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

O-U-T- spells out… goose swoops down and plucks you out."
The title of the book was taken from a nursery rhyme but the first 3 and last lines were from the book, i.e., thoughts inside the head of the schizophrenic narrator, Chief Bromden as the nursery rhyme was used to be sung to him by his grandmothe
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Ann
This is one of the most fantastic novels of individualism pitted against the vast depersonalization of industrial society ever written. Ken Kesey has an extraordinary grasp of the challenges faced by us all in modern civilization, and he is able to convey his ideas through some of the richest imagery I have ever read. My favorite line in the novel, when Chief Bromden (the paranoid schizophrenic narrator) says, "But it's the truth, even if it didn't happen," sets the reader up from the very begin ...more
Manny
Like most people who grew up in the 60s, I loved this book and, even more, the film version with Jack Nicholson. I was reminded of it yesterday when Not and I got to talking about the Winona Ryder movie Girl, Interrupted.

"Oh," said Not dismissively, "it's just a remake of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

But I completely disagree. In fact, I think it's the most coherent criticism I've ever seen of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and does a wonderful job of subverting the message. Throughout mo
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Brad
i. Lost the damn book! Shit.

ii. Found it!

iii. Finished, but I need some time to let this sink in. The review is coming.

iv. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is about non-conformity. It is also about the horrors of the mental health system circa the late ‘50s & early ‘60s. I am sure it is about some other things I didn’t pick up this time around. But it is also about metaphor, and that was the theme in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that most spoke to me.

Chief Bromden is the narrator, you se
...more
Shovelmonkey1
Apr 26, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who has not read it yet
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership in the world. John Updike said that, not me. I think he is probably right, although where the quote fits in alongside all the persons who currently have placed themselves upon political podiums and nominated themselves leaders (or had themselves nominated) is a little unclear.

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest is an enduring p
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Mariel
Dec 09, 2010 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: shut up I am dreaming
Recommended to Mariel by: the empty threats of little lord
I am scared of Nurse Ratched. I'm sure she'd make me feel insane, if I met her. At least I'd feel like I had a flat chest, for once. It's like standing next to someone shorter than my 5'5. I love feeling tall! What about hanging around with crazy people? Would I feel crazy too? Or would I feel more sane? (The first one.)

Randall did the wrong thing. He'd have been out of jail. It's all a trap. Probation, mental asylums. They should just do their time and have done with it. (The system is set up t
...more
emily
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Holste
Aug 29, 2007 David Holste rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone.
One of the many things I took from this book (my favorite book) is that although the human spirit can be crushed, it is impossible to kill.

Written by the late Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoos's Nest is a dark satire that takes place in a mental institution during the late 1950's. The protagonist, R.P. McMurphy, is a fast talking con man that gets himself committed in order to escape doing time on a prison work-farm. Once inside the institution his free-wheeling nature collides with Nurse Rat
...more
Colin McKay Miller
Randle Patrick McMurphy might just be the greatest character in the history of literature.

As the central figure to Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, McMurphy’s flawed charm explodes off the page in his battle against the dreaded Nurse Ratched, a stiff, tyrannical woman who uses subtle means (such as shame in group therapy sessions) to control mental patients without them realizing they’re being controlled at all. Set in an all-male mental health facility, the novel is told through th
...more
Rowena
A very enthralling book! I enjoyed the memorable characters, especially McMurphy.I like how the book is narrated by Chief Bromden; he definitely shed a lot of light on the ways of the mental ward's staff. It was interesting to witness the power struggle between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy and shocking to see how the mental ward's inhabitants were treated. Thank God they don't perform lobotomies anymore.
Devlin Scott
I can’t describe this novel any better than the write-up that exists on the back cover of my copy:

He’s a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the ward of a mental hospital and takes over…

He’s a lusty, profane, fun-loving fighter who rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Big Nurse. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women. At every turn, he openly defies her rule.

The contest starts as sport (with McMurphy taking bets on th
...more
Danger
Mar 28, 2011 Danger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crazy people, sane people, human beings and birds
The book is 100 times better than the movie, and the movie won five Academy Awards. Converting that, each Academy Award is worth 115 shitty movies, making the movie version worth 575 crappy movies. 100 x 575 = 57,500 shitty films. So your options are to watch nearly 60 thousand shitty movies or read this book once. I think the choice is clear.
Shawn
This strikes me as so overrated, and disappointingly juvenile in its fundamental point of view -- "THEY" are out to get you, everyone in concert, just to spoil your good time. Ball-cutters are bad; hookers who fly their breasts free on a fishing boat are good; real men know the difference.

None of these characters seem real, and the concerns of the novel -- freedom, social limits, the individual and the machine -- are presented so stupidly, in such a high schoolish manner, that it's hard to take
...more
mark monday
another oddly dream-like modern classic. and another one where the misogyny both dates it and makes it hard to take seriously. what's wrong with guys? don't they realize that it's other guys that are really the problem? ah well. still, a good book but not a great one despite its reputation.
Bonnie
Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

Another on my list of Banned/Challenged books. And another book that I apparently failed to be given as a reading requirement when I was younger.

I don’t have much to say about this series as I know the vast majority of you have already read this, but I will say that I was most definitely thrown by the story as I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. ‘Wow’ was the most used word while reading/listening to this book, for sure.

The settin
...more
Ed
Jun 20, 2011 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: literary noir
Recommended to Ed by: The movie version starring Jack Nicholson
Perhaps once or twice a year reading a novel sets my heart to hammer its pulses through me. The experience is just that visceral and electric. A reader's high, if you will. Cuckoo's Nest counts the latest of the all-too-rare titles. There a few nits--convenient plot tricks, overripe surreal passages, and McMurphy's puzzling intertia--but I don't care a fig. Nope, I connected with Ken Kesey's debut novel set in Oregon presumably in 1962, its publication date. Chief Broom is the pitch-perfect narr ...more
Cathy
Remarkable. Flawed. A great story. I've read this book at 20 year intervals over my life and each reading affects me differently.

In the 70's I thought it was simply an anti-establishment book, and McMurphy was our hero fighting the system.

In the 90's, I started seeing a lot of cracks. McMurphy didn't seem so brillant when I realized he was incarcerated for statatory rape (or as he describes it to the doctor "she was asking for for it, if you know what I mean, Doc"). Kesey seems misogynistic in h
...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
an excellent example of unreliable narration, but the narrative itself drags, & the conservatism is quite off putting.
Jennifer
"...Dog, that hole is none of your affair-it's to big and too black and there's a spoor all over the place says bears or something just as bad. And some other voice coming like a sharp whisper out of way back in his breed, not a smart voice, nothing cagey about it, saying Sic 'Im dog, sic 'im!"


This excerpt sums up the book beautifully. This was a classic power struggle, infused with rich characters. Ken Kesey wrote a disturbing novel from the point of view of Chief Bromden, whom I personally ad
...more
Miss Kim
Still excellent the second read....


I first read this about 20 years ago…I still think it is one of the best I’ve read. I’m not necessarily a fan of Mr. Kesey, but I do love the story he created here.

I won’t give a plot synopsis, as I know it’s been done many times. It is just a great read if you’ve got a few hours. Randle Patrick McMurphy and Chief Bromden are two of my favorite characters. The pov is from Chief, who is a patient in the asylum and it is kind of interesting to hear it from his pe
...more
LaReina
Throughout the years, I have heard many great things about One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. I am only now getting around to finally reading it since I am trying to read as many classics as I can for this year's reading challenge. So I was eager to delve in and understand why this book is considered a modern, American classic. Here are my humble thoughts on this book.

Since it was and is a considered a novel of the counterculture, the fact that the book's main theme is the conflict between mainstr
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Randle P. McMurphy is transferred to a mental hospital in order to avoid the prison work farm. During his confinement, he turns the ward around – making the patients believe there is hope and standing up to the horrible Nurse Ratched.

I was introduced to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest via the film version (admittedly, when I was waaaaay to young to be watching such movies) and it immediately became one of my favorites. When I was in hi
...more
Rauf
Jun 02, 2010 Rauf rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I've been telling people that Cuckoo's Nest is 1984 set in a nut-house. But now I think Cuckoo's Nest has more things in common with the short story "Repent, Harlequin!" Said The Ticktockman, by Harlan Ellison.
Repent, Harlequin! was set in a dystopian land, in "a society where the single driving force was order and unity and promptness and clocklike precision and attention to the clock." Being late was considered a crime. If you were 10 minutes late, you would lose 10 minutes of your life. If yo
...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
I had not read nor heard any critique or review of this book before reading it, but I can imagine there is, at the very least, a few feminists out there who have stomped all over this.

Saw the movie a few years ago and loved it. Heard just the other day that Kesey hated the movie and disowned it, wouldn't have anything to do with it. That's the only thing I've heard. But the movie is good, and you really need to have seen it, or read the book, to get that great Spaced episode (second series) - i
...more
Cher
3 stars - It was good.

I don't know how I have gone so long without ever having read this book or seen the movie, but here we are. This was a unique look at mental illness through the eyes of an unreliable narrator. I thoroughly enjoyed the exploration of many rules being in place due to the ruler's desire to have power and control vs for the actual benefit of the ruled or due to the increasingly more elusive "common" sense. I will eventually get around to seeing the movie, though it's really str
...more
Nema Al-Araby
I finished this novel and I don't know why I remembered Fight Club and all the mind-f**k novels that could come to your mind. I went through the last page mumbling in my mind what an intense, heavy novel.
The novel started off really slow, I couldn't go on along the whole first part until things got really interesting with McMurphy's charismatic personality and insane ideas in an insane institution run by insane people. I also actually really loved chief Bromden's character with all his Im-not-du
...more
 Δx Δp ≥ ½ ħ
Buku ini bisa dijadikan ukuran, Seberapa masih lembutkah hati yang kita miliki?

Ketika saya menemukan buku ini di tukang buku bekas, saya seperti menemukan harta karun. Soalnya, saya pernah menonton film 'OFOtCN' sebelumnya. Ceritanya benar-benar hebat. akting para pemain, terutama si Jack Nicholson benar-benar jenius abis. ^ ^

Dan, keberuntungan saya belum berakhir. Soalnya, saya mendapat buku ini dengan harga yang super-duper miring. Pertamanya sih si pedagang nawarin dengan harga 30rb emas. Tp
...more
Mikela
I read about 60% of the book then somehow mislaid it to bring my reading to a screeching halt. This can in no way cast aspirations on my tidiness you understand, it just fell into one of my many piles of books and awaited re-discovery (I maintain that this could happen to anyone). It took me awhile to find exactly where I left off which meant that I had to re-read large sections of it in order to make sure I hadn't missed anything and to get the feel of the book again, One could say I had double ...more
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American writer, who gained world fame with his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962, filmed 1975). In the 1960s, Kesey became a counterculture hero and a guru of psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary. Kesey has been called the Pied Piper, who changed the beat generation into the hippie movement.

Ken Kesey was born in La Junta, CO, and brought up in Eugene, OR. Kesey spent his early years hun
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“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.” 1899 likes
“All I know is this: nobody's very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.” 428 likes
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