One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey

It was fun to get reacquainted with all these guys again, but to be honest it didn’t really stand up to the film, which is rare in my experience. Usually the books better than the film, right?


The primary reason I read this is because of the film, which I loved. When I realised that the book was narrated by Chief Bromdon, I had even more cause to read it because, if you remember, in the film the Chief is supposedly deaf and dumb, so we don’t get his perspective on anything. I therefore went into this book really excited to get a fresh take on events. The thing was, nothing was really added to the story by its narration being from the Chief. It was definitely interesting having the Chiefs perspective, especially when it came to Nurse Ratched (a.k.a the Big Nurse) and McMurphy, but that was it.


When it comes to characters, these guys were really well drawn. Every main character, without exception, was brilliantly portrayed. There was a great dynamic between everyone that I’m not sure came off so well in the film- correct me if I’m wrong though, my memory is faltering! There was the correct level of vulnerability and awareness amongst the characters to make them believable. I didn’t find myself emotionally responding to any of them much though, except for my hatred towards Nurse Ratched, of course! Another thing I noticed is that in the film the characters were portrayed as, well, morons, but in the book they were definitely handled with more sensitivity.


I would recommend you read this book as there are quite a few scenarios that didn’t appear in the film, so I think it’s worth it for that alone. I just wasn’t bowled over, but let’s face it, it takes a lot to do that to me! I think the film kind-of ruined it for me, as in my mind’s eye I just saw Jack Nicholson every time McMurphys name was mentioned.