BLURB: “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 the devilish grin. McMurphy battles Nurse Ratched and the ward regime, challenging everyone’s beliefs about madness…who, of them all, is really insane?”
REVIEW: I studied Psychology at A-level and miss it so much that I’m always looking for books based around some of the things I learnt in my Psychology classes; this book fit that mould perfectly. It’s another of those books that is hard to describe without giving away too much of the ending, but simultaneously I genuinely believe it to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. In terms of the questions it brings up – what is madness? How should those classified as mad be treated? Why is madness seen as such a horrific problem?, etc. – and the emotions it creates, Kesey’s writing is almost unrivalled. The book was both horrifying and amusing, somehow, both tragic and hopeful, and it is this paradoxes, I think, that make it such a wonderful book – it stays with you long after you turn the final page. The only advice that I can give is make sure to read the ending at home – I read it on public transport and I think more than a few people were disturbed by my tears and running mascara!