Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Crazy Good Book - Emphasis on Crazy

Currently Reading: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a book of contradictions.

The supposedly deaf main character hears more than anyone else.

The caring, smiling nurse with a sensual body is actually a sadistic tyrant who does everything in her power to never appear as a sexual being.

The therapy sessions to create a sense of trust amongst the men actually encourage them to fink on each other and shame each other into total isolation.

The line between the sane and insane is consistently blurred, as the people in charge repeatedly seem crazier than the men they are meant to be treating.

And the aggressive, swindling con man who lies his way into the insane asylum to avoid being a prison laborer, who only seems to care about himself, turns out to be the only one willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of giving the men on the ward their sense of humanity back.

It’s a short book that takes on so much and it has struck me to my core in both an awful and a wonderful way.

This novel is a bleak look of how a person can be broken down, almost methodically into a shell of a human – a scared, sack of flesh and fog, too beaten to even have the strength or courage to laugh. And yet, it is also a hopeful, sympathetic look at how any “crazy” person can be recovered by just being treated like a man; by being shown compassion and encouragement rather than being treated like a sick, damaged sub-human, only good for being poked and prodded like an animal lined up for slaughter.

It was the most bizarre yet beautiful mix of make-your-skin-crawl horror, make-you-want-to-give-up-on-people sadness, and make-you-actually-laugh-out-loud humor.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a book of contradictions. But in the end, my reactions came to one harmonious conclusion:

I absolutely loved this book. If you haven’t read it, you really should.

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