One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey
About: Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, this is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome power of the Combine.
Review: I had to read this book for school and I always have a hard time reading assigned books but this one really blew me away. I'm usually not one for realistic fiction but this book was written in the 1960's and well my humanities class is 'Humanities in the 1960's' so it was very fitting. The whole story is interesting because its told by Cheif Bromden who everyone thinks is deaf and dumb, but he isn't, he gets to hear everyone's conversations. The book is a power struggle between the controlling Big Nurse and the newest patient to the mental war McMurphy. McMurphy sent himself to the mental ward from a working farm where he didn't want to be anymore. He realizes most of the guys in the Combine are just as normal as he is and tries to get them to laugh and joke around and be happy. He gets them to play basketball and organizes a team, he takes them on a fishing trip and shows them life and talks and listens to them. Ultimately he tries to take down the Big Nurse by his actions like putting his hand through her glass box and running around in his towel. I felt like I got a lot more out of this book because we got to discuss it in class. We talked about the different symbolism throughout the story and how the Combine was 'the man' bringing us down (my teacher is a big hippie). If you ever get the chance to read it in class, or just need a very intense story pick this one up. Its a classic.
Side Note: As for the movie I've heard its good but the Big Nurse isn't as nasty and dominating in the movie as she obviously is in the book. I'd definitely read it before I saw the movie.