STAR RATING: ★★★★☆
BLURB:“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.’ (Goodreads.com)
I made the fatal mistake of watching the film (!!!! I know) before I read the book for this. I am not kidding, I will never EVER do this again. It completely colours the way you read the book and basically had me making comparisons the entire way through. I thought the film was good when I watched it, but reading the book made me see that it’s just a watered down version, with very little depth that the book has.
This book is deep. And you can tell Ken Kesey was high on LSD when he wrote it (which he actually was, he was taking part in trials while writing), and I feel like you have to read it very slowly, reading every single word to gather the high level of emotion he’s trying to convey in his words. You need to be completely alone whilst reading this, or it just won’t get through, and unlike some other books, I noticed a complete difference in my ability to digest this book whilst in the company of others.
I can’t even pin down if I enjoyed it or not, but I have to take into account that this book is way before it’s time, before mental health institutes were a common thing of books and films. It’s portrayed in the stereotypical way, especially when the book has been translated into film and stage, the obvious clinical and sterile atmosphere with the crazy and scary mentally damaged, so whilst reading this I had to try and cast off my natural dislike for this kind of thing.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, but I genuinely think my opinion of it was tarnished by the fact I had watched the film before – SOMETHING I WILL NEVER DO AGAIN.