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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  689,490 ratings  ·  13,552 reviews
Being "mad" isn't easy...

Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict, unbending routine. Her patients, cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy, dare not oppose her. But everything changes with the arrival of McMurphy – the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin. McMurphy battles N
Mass Market Paperback, 393 pages
Published 2006 by Penguin Classics (first published 1962)
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Joe Constantine McMurphy isn't a good guy. He is full of faults, full to the brim with them! He's a misogynist, a sex offender, a con man, a gambler, a thug. He isn't…moreMcMurphy isn't a good guy. He is full of faults, full to the brim with them! He's a misogynist, a sex offender, a con man, a gambler, a thug. He isn't our protagonist because he is virtuous in any way. We want him to succeed, to beat Nurse Ratched not because he is good, but because the alternative - a total, crushing conformity and control - would be worse. (less)
Yelyzaveta Just drop it :) If it didn't capture you from the first lines it is just not your cup of tea. It is true to most of the books :) I totally loved it fr…moreJust drop it :) If it didn't capture you from the first lines it is just not your cup of tea. It is true to most of the books :) I totally loved it from the beginning till end.(less)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  689,490 ratings  ·  13,552 reviews

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Samara Steele
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Profane, hilarious, disturbing, heartbreaking, shocking – powerful.

Ken Kesey’s genre defining 1962 novel that was made into a Broadway play and then made into an Academy Award winning film starring Jack Nicholson will inspire strong emotions. I can see people loving it or hating it.

I loved it.

First of all, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart: a book that is banned from libraries has a place on my bookshelf.

So all you amateur censurers out there – you are my enemy. I don’t like you. I de
Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 436 From 1001 Books) - One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) is a novel written by Ken Kesey.

Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, the narrative serves as a study of the institutional processes and the human mind as well as a critique of behaviorism and a celebration of humanistic principles.

Bo Goldman adapted the novel into a 1975 film directed by Miloš Forman, which won five Academy Awards.

The book is narrated by "Chief" Bromden, a gigantic y
Jun 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us, classics, 1001
“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.” “He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.”

Ken Kesey’s novel has been on my TBR since March 2014. I do not know why it took me so long to finally read it, maybe it was the subject, but I am satisfied that I finally did. It is indeed a masterpiece and it will break your heart, as good books seem to do.

In short, the novel is set in a psych
BAM the enigma
4/18/22 gosh how many times have I actually read this now? I honestly do not know. And every time it’s like I’ve never read it; I take away something different. Tonight’s lesson is I think will be self esteem and how fragile that is, how it can take one person to tear it down or one person to build it. How no matter how hard you try to be positive, how you want to love yourself just the way you are and you even talk to yourself in the mirror-in the bathroom, in the driver’s seat, maybe the swive ...more
I just watched an interview with Stephen Fry and he mentioned this book. Read it a long long time ago. Read it for highschool already I think. Remember being shocked and amazed. Scary, funny, dark and wonderful at the same time. Un-be-lievable. And I just realized this is one of the best and impressive books I ever read. Definitely a top tenner ever.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
“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.”
- Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This is a book I had little interest in reading. A novel set in an insane asylum? No thanks.

I spent four years of my legal career defending indigent clients facing commitment before our local Board of Mental Health. It was an experience I had not trained for, prepared for, or frankly could have imagined befo
Julie G
Reading Road Trip 2020

Current location: Oregon

I took a hard fall last week on a couple of steps and injured my right foot. I can't drive, and I'm walking with a cane, and, to make matters worse, it snowed for a couple of days, and both my front porch and my back porch are now covered with ice.

As if I hadn't already had two partially collapsed lungs from COVID earlier in the year, as if I haven't already been home, 24/7, with my two youngest children, since March 13, as if I didn't already have
This modern classic book overshadowed by the modern classic Jack Nicholson movie of the same name, still packs a punch at face value... the story of a cocksure womanising drifter who feigns insanity to avoid imprisonment and finds himself compelled to fight against the regime of a mental hospital ward run by the 'dark' Nurse Ratched; he also strives for his fellow inmates to get more out of their lives.

So lovable anti-hero versus evil domineering nurse, who is allowed to abuse her power because
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
My friend Ed was recently updating his books with reviews on here and this book popped up in my feed. It's my husband's favorite movie/book of all time and I realized that I had never picked the book up. I've watched bits and pieces of the movie in the three thousand times that my husband has watched it, but I had never experienced it first hand.
I'm gutted.
Why have I not just sat down and watched the film that was made from this book? I'm completely off my rocker.

Randle Patrick McMurphy. Tha
Dr. Appu Sasidharan

(Throwback Review) This novel tells us the story of despotic Nurse Ratched, who works in Oregon State mental hospital, and McMurphy, a patient who questions the rules imposed on the inmates by her in the hospital. It is considered one of the most controversial medical novels ever written and was banned multiple times for several reasons.

Multiple actresses turned down the role of Nurse Ratched when this novel was made into a movie. Everyone was scared to play her role as they were afraid
Vit Babenco
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a groundbreaking book and it is a manifesto about the rights of man to have an individuality…
…a guy has to learn to get along in a group before he'll be able to function in a normal society; how the group can help the guy by showing him where he's out of place; how society is what decides who's sane and who isn't, so you got to measure up.

Are you different from the others? Then we’ll correct you, make you fit and suit.
…people will force you one way or the other
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
…one flew east, one flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

This classic book gave birth to a movie which won a truckload of Academy Awards. This means the majority of readers are familiar with one or the other and I thought a very brief review would be enough; something along the lines, "The book is very good". Seeing that some people miss the point of the story I had to ramble a little more than this short sentence, sorry.

A ward of a mental hospital in Oregon was ruled by an iron hand of it
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"There is generally one person in every situation you must never underestimate the power of."

A novel that celebrates the counterculture and the aspects on the fringes of society, "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" is a book that mythologizes the individual (even the dishonest or vulgar individual) over the restraints of society. I have mixed feelings about that message.
The battle between being true to oneself and giving into societal expectations is identified here as the battle between one's min
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
I needed some time to get used to the writing style, but letting the Chief (an outside figure, who, due to his "deafness", doesn't intervene with the main storyline too much) is certainly a stroke of genius, and after a while, I got used to his way of telling the story.
All the characters found a place in my heart, and they are what make the book so remarkable and memorable.
I thought they were some unnecessary scenes, but they were really minor, so they didn't put a huge dent into my enjoyment.
J.L.   Sutton
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“You had a choice: you could either strain and look at things that appeared in front of you in the fog, painful as it might be, or you could relax and lose yourself”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest |

I was very familiar with the 1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest starring Jack Nicholson, but I had never read Ken Kesey's novel. I am happy to have changed that! I don't know why I didn't think about whose viewpoint the story was being told from when I watched the movie, but this perspective in the book added another dimensi
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: credshelf
A Spectacle of Lit's Power to Stand against Oppression
"I remember when, I remember ... when I lost my mind

Does that make me crazy?"
Gnarls Barkley, Crazy, 2006.

The monotypic, iconoclastic novel illustrating the evils of unbridled government oppression in institutional forms within a democracy, both subtle and ruthless. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest evinces the fortisimmo force of literature as a "monument of wit" that "will survive the monuments of power." Francis Bacon.

After working at a
Aj the Ravenous Reader

Really unpopular opinion coming your way. Escape while you can.^^

How much of life is defined by choices and how much is determined by fate? Or is really fate that directs life’s order or is it people’s thirst for power, to remain strong? Does the rabbit live in a hole because the wolf decided so? What happens when the rabbit decides to challenge the wolf?

Such thoughts are provoked by this widely read and loved classic novel. The messages buried in an unexpected setting (a mental institution re
K.D. Absolutely
"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
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, seen-movie
loved this.
One of my favourites.
Painful and heartbreaking to witness humanity's struggle to have a decent life while living within the boundaries others set for them. Not to be a rabbit, that is the ultimate goal!

Truer than ever...
Dave Schaafsma
So, I re-read this book for my postwar fiction class. Read it first when I was 21, working at Pine Rest Christian Hospital (in Grand Rapids, MI) as a psych aide, very shaped by it in many ways, I now realize in reading it some 40 years later. I think (because how can I know for sure?) I liked this book better this time than I did when I first read it. As I said, it shaped my view of myself, of institutions, of psych hospitals and psychiatry in general, of madness, of Society, of the need for Fre ...more
Dec 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have heard great things about One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. I am 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 is considered a novel of the counterculture, the fact that the book's main theme is the conflict between mainstream society and the individual is no surprise. Kensey choosing a
Brett C
"...because a moving target is hard to hit." pg 82

This was a very enjoyable read for me. The story honestly was unique because of the setting and the tone given from the narrator. The tone and dialogue felt very organic and everything meshed well from beginning to end. The underlying theme of the book was led by the rebellious McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson in the movie). The book constantly showed the problems that arise when there's an imbalance: in power (both perceived and achieved), inn
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When is deep conviction at the Hand of The Absolute ENOUGH? The simple answer is it may Never be Enough. Depends on the depths of sin within us.

By 1970 my earlier conviction had Obviously not been Enough. My fear was now at fever pitch, and I had to be Stopped dead in its Tracks. And made to see that blinding light which, at midnight - as John of the Cross says - was my Dark Night of the Soul.

God is My Bright Abyss. My first DARK abyss was in 1970 (but I still didn't see it). In 2021 I saw only
Nat K

"I never been in a Institute of Psychology before."
- Randall P. McMurphy

"... but you do understand: everyone...must follow the rules."
- Nurse Ratched

I'll start this review by saying that yes, I did see the movie. Though it was such a long time ago, I can't pretend to remember a lot about it. Vague scenes flash through my mind: the maniacal grin of Jack Nicholson's character, the quiet grace of the giant Indian chief who at some point loses it, the absolute menace of the nurse.

When Ron suggested
Dannii Elle
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This renowned classic is a slow-paced read and an intense character study, set in the enclosed environment of a psychiatric hospital. Nurse Ratched rules her ward with a tyranny and a close-scrutiny that has the patients bent to her will and fearful of any misstep they might make to upset her. That is until a new character joins their ranks and threatens to usurp Ratched's rule. In their fight for dominance the inhabitants of the ward begin to understand a little something about personal freedom ...more
I really wish I'd read this before seeing the film.

Because all I could think about while reading, was him:

and, her:

and, of course, this guy:

It's a case of a brilliant movie sucking the life out of its original source. I was pleased to learn that the movie was true to the book, but it was SO true, I didn't find I got much out of this that I hadn't already. I have to give kudos to Ken Kesey for creating a fantastic trio of characters - McMurphy is a complex and compelling protagonist, Chief Bromd
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Ken Kesey was 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. He spent his earl

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