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Sometimes a Great Notion
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message 1: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 12834 comments Start discussion here for Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey.


Stephanie  | 55 comments Does anybody else find the introduction really confusing? I am only maybe 10% into it, but the formatting for this book is really throwing me off. It probably took me 20 to 25 pages just to figure out how to read it so that I understand. There are a lot of time jumps and I keep getting characters confused. I am going to stick it out, though. I usually give a book about 100 pages before I just put it down, and I think I am past the impulse to do that now as the story has just gotten interesting.


message 3: by Laurie (last edited Dec 03, 2015 05:15PM) (new)

Laurie | 616 comments Stephanie,
I would like to read this since I just finished One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and thought it was quite good. But I'll have to postpone this one until next year. You have piqued my interest though. I am curious if you end up enjoying it.


Stephanie  | 55 comments Laurie wrote: "Stephanie,
I would like to read this since I just finished One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and thought it was quite good. But I'll have to postpone this one until next year. You have piqued my inte..."


I'm about a quarter through it now and it is a lot better than it was. Now it is basically just jumping between two characters' viewpoints which makes it much easier to digest and it is a really interesting relationship- sort of a man's man vs. the nerd. I will post a review when I am done.


message 5: by Stephanie (last edited Dec 08, 2015 11:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stephanie  | 55 comments Update: I am now about 75% done with this one. I usually read much quicker than this, but with the holidays and everything it is just really hard to read at the rate I would like.

My overall impression so far is that there is WAY too much setting description. I think an editor nowadays would tell him a paragraph is enough and I would be done with the book already. Those are the parts that make my eyes glaze over.

The story itself is getting really interesting and every time I have to stop I get frustrated. It still feels like one of the longest books ever because I go from, "Wow, what's going to happen?" to "Stop describing the freaking woods!" Over and over again.

I have to say, I would have never read this book if it hadn't been suggested on this site (even though I really loved "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"- that's probably what sold me on reading that one of the three), so I appreciate it. The story is interesting. There's just so much setting. I think the point of describing all the setting is that it is meant to be a metaphor for what is going on between the characters, but I just feel like I am being thunked over the head with it. Repeatedly.

Over the next week I should finish it and post my review.


Stephanie  | 55 comments Okay. So, I pushed through and finished it tonight. This is my spoiler-free review:

Warning- this is not "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" which I absolutely adored. That being said, it wasn't something as bland as Charles Dickens either. Which puts it somewhere in the middle, thus three stars.

I had such difficulty in the beginning. I was lucky to clear a few pages before my eyes started to glaze over and I needed to refocus. This is a SLOW starter. It really doesn't get extremely interesting until about 200 - 300 pages in. I feel like a good half of this book could be omitted and it would be better for it. There are ridiculously long passages describing the environment. A paragraph would have done.

That said, the story at the core of this book is extremely interesting. The Stamper family dynamic is fascinating. What is the great notion that they learn? I am still trying to figure that out. I think it might be a different notion for everyone, but watching the notions develop is absolutely fascinating. Perhaps more fascinating is the way it ends- everyone sort of hates everyone else, and is kind of happy nonetheless. Without giving away spoilers, that's the best I can do.

Is this book a little weird? Yeah. Is it VERY slow reading? Yes. Is it worth reading despite that? Absolutely. Just make sure you a have at least a few weeks to do it.


Hopefully that helps anyone who may have been interested in reading it or who may have been following this particular thread.


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