Monday, April 15, 2013

Book 95: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (Audiobook)

Although everyone in the world has read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in high school, I did not. Small private Christian schools normally do not put books filled with profanity on their summer reading list. I don't mind. Hearing stories like this one - the tale of Chief Bromden and R.P. McMurphy and Nurse Ratchett - makes me appreciate them differently than I might have as a dumb high school kid. (No, not all high school kids are dumb, I just happened to be one that was.)

Okay, first, I'd like to say (as a health advocate) that I am very happy that we've moved past electroshock therapy and lobotomies as appropriate forms of mental health treatment.

Now that I've said that, here's the lowdown: Ken Kesey is a master. Several times, I was blown away by his ability to use Chief Bromden as a medium through which to communicate all of the back-room meeting conversations and to bring us up to speed on the patients. I literally stopped the audiobook and sat back to reflect on how beautifully he crafted this book.

Tom Parker's voice is audibly clad in red, white, and blue; it's so American. I loved his voice and his style and the way he was able to bring the characters to life. And believe it or not (for all of us who have seen Jack Nicholson in the movie version) the similarities between Parker's voice and Nicholson's are uncanny. I kept thinking that no one could have played R.P. McMurphy better than Nicholson, it was the most obvious casting placement in history.

All around amazing, and I'm glad I waited until I was in my mid-30's to read this book. It made me appreciate my freedom - and that which was surrendered by the characters within this book - all the more.

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