One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - struggling....

(31 Posts)
BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 29-Dec-12 21:43:58

Hi,

Started to read this last week, have never seen the film and have no knowledge of the book as such.

I am struggling to stick with it, but as it is a classic and many people have raged about it to me, I need to carry on - don't I?

Is it worth sticking with or is this one of those books that you either love or hate?

SnowyGrey Sat 29-Dec-12 21:51:16

Watch the film first, then revisit the book for the finer detail. I don't think the book itself is (IMO) an out and out classic over and beyond the film unlike, say, Pride and Prejudice (poor example but that's what springs to mind).

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 29-Dec-12 21:57:11

ah, thank you Snowy.

I purposely didn't want to watch the film first, in case it spoiled the book.

No don't watch the film first. Give it a while longer - how far in are you? Jack Nicholson is good in the film but unfortunately he takes over characters so much that they all become essentially Jack Nicholson - better to read the book without seeing him imho.

Tortington Sat 29-Dec-12 23:25:35

i am usually hugely dissapointed with supposedly great works of fiction ( great gasby anyone dullsville)

really liked this

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 29-Dec-12 23:27:09

Ah now I already have McMurphy as Jack Nicholson in my head - I tried not to, but I am weak grin

I will persevere, for a few days at least..

Thanks smile

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 29-Dec-12 23:28:04

X post Custardo, good to know, thanks!

Oh Gatsby is boring - all of the characters are so unpleasant and I hate not having anybody to care about.

FromEsme Sat 29-Dec-12 23:32:02

I LOVE Gatsby precisely because everyone is pretty awful. But that's what people are like!

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 29-Dec-12 23:32:49

Not read Gatsby but did attempt Great Expectations. Stuck with it til Pip moved to London and then lost the will - I wondered if it was just me confused

Bloomin' hate Dickens too. smile

TuftyFinch Sat 29-Dec-12 23:43:20

Read the book first.
I do think though that with some modern classics, reading them as an adult who's seen 'the big wide world' is different to reading them as an adolescent/young adult.
I could never say a bad word about Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Kes, Cukoos Nest .... because I was young when I read them and they had such an impact.
But, I know adults who didnt read them when younger who just couldn't see why they were so great.
I think this is also true of films.
So, I would persevere but ...
It is a classic and deserves to be but I think as with most things sometimes they grab us and sometimes they don't. Just put it aside, pick something else and revisit it later.
I couldn't tried to say that in a much better way but that ship has sailed for today smile
Enjoy.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 29-Dec-12 23:50:34

Thanks Tufty, funny you should mention Catcher In The Rye as that is another I had my eye on.

Having read To Kill A Mockingbird at an impressionable age and finding it breath taking I think I understand you completely, knowing much more about history and the politics of the time as an adult, I wonder if I would read it with the same awe as an adult.

I feel my boat of clarity has also sailed away for the evening grin

marzipanpig Sat 29-Dec-12 23:50:40

Read The Electric Cool Aid Acid test first by Ken Kesey and I think it puts One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest into perspective.
Personally, I prefer the book then the film but hey.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 29-Dec-12 23:53:58

Thanks for that marzipan, I will see if I can get it in the library (no new fangled e-reader here grin

Glitterkitten24 Sat 29-Dec-12 23:55:38

I think I gave up on my first attempt to read it, but got into it quicker the second time I picked it up. Once I'd gotten into it, it wasn't actually hard work and it is a good story.

Don't watch the film first, you'll already have the picture of Jack Nicolson in your head and the book is better than the film.

Agree re boring supposed 'classics' - Great Expectations, Anna Karenina and Gatsy all spring to mind,

TuftyFinch Sun 30-Dec-12 00:13:44

I think you'll find Catcher in the Rye an easier read. I can't count the number of times ive read it and I always come away with something new.
It's like a favourite and old charm bracelet.
For me, Salinger, along with Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare (there are others but) didn't waste a single word. Nothing is superfluous. Whereas Hardy or Dickens could've won competitions for their lengthy, sole searching prose. It's not better though just different. I can read Tess of the D'Ubervilles again and again but I'll still skip bits.
Rambling.
Anyway.
Read Catcher in the Rye but
will you buy it? Not borrow it from the library. You need to have it so you can read it again. And bend the corners of the pages.
I'd be happy to send you a copy.
I really would.

Tortington Sun 30-Dec-12 00:20:23

catchers is an easy read - but i got nothing from it, thought it was dull and utter rubbish

Amapoleon Sun 30-Dec-12 00:40:12

I've read Catcher in the rye numerous times, always thinking I've missed something because everyone raves about it. Have given up looking now hahaha. Little claim to fame, I stayed with the actress that played Nurse Ratched. I saw the film before I read the book, so I could only picture Jack Nicholson.

Catcher = an easy read but an entirely unsatisfactory one. It does nothing for me.

For easy to read classics which are worth reading try some Steinbeck, especially East Of Eden and Of Mice And Men.

FromEsme Sun 30-Dec-12 16:46:56

Yes, love Steinbeck especially Grapes of Wrath. I find Joyce Carol Oates has a similar style, easy to read but still serious.

Catcher in the Rye is boring and pointless.

Tortington Sun 30-Dec-12 17:03:12

grapes of wrath is indeed genius, i mean true utter genius, a hefty book which at first glance seems quite daunting, but .......oh the genius

'Grapes Of Wrath' excellent but I have never been able to bring myself to re-read it as it's so desperately, horribly, relentlessly depressing. I'm too scared to read it again! smile

FromEsme Sun 30-Dec-12 17:10:02

I find depressing books comforting. That's what real life is so often like. It's when you read books where everything is yay and woop and hurrah and oh no it's a tiny bit sad, but hurrah everyone is young and beautiful and in love that I get depressed.

smile I like a balance!

I read 'A Fine Balance' fairly recently and it irritated me so much because the misery just kept piling up and piling up to the extent that it didn't move me at all and instead I was just bored by it. Maybe I'm just a horrible person?!

Tortington Sun 30-Dec-12 17:15:39

i have to say that i am comforted by the fact that others got nothing from catchers, i keep thinking 'there is a sub text here that i am too stupid to get'

but its good to know its just shit

SnowyGrey Sun 30-Dec-12 19:34:36

Gatsy is NOT boring!! shock

Once you have studied it at a higher level, the amount of clever imagery, suggestion and manipulation is truly fascinating. Yes, on the surface it is just a bunch of jazz happy idiots with more money than sense but my goodness there is so much more to it than that....

I have studied it at a higher level - still don't like it much though.

I love the fact that books can cause such intense emotions either way. smile

wongadotmom Sun 30-Dec-12 21:00:48

Read the book first, stick with it, it's my favourite book of all time, it really is worth it.
I read it for the first time when I was just a kid and really struggled, as it wasn't until after I'd finished the book and spoke to my dad about it (who, tbh, I was trying to impress by reading it in the first place) and he told me that the Chief was crazy, (I somehow missed that point, despite him being in a lunatic asylum) that I began to understand his long ramblings.
Then watch the film. I love the film, too, (JN my favourite actor) but there are changes from the story in the book.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sun 30-Dec-12 21:26:02

Hi everyone, sorry for running from the thread, had a busy day.

Great to hear other people's opinions on books that I have tried and failed to read - Anna Karenina being another!

I have a list now of books that I will read with a more open mind (rather than reading it and expecting wonders as it is a classic) thanks to this thread.

Tufty, thank you for the offer - very kind of you, I have this evening found out that my very own Mum has a copy and she has offered it to me, she said it was 'ok but overrated'

If it is easy to read though, I have to have a go don't I!

Grapes of Wrath is one of Mum's all time favourite films, not sure if she has read the book. I'm not good with depressing books as such, if I am feeling down then I get too involved and it becomes a chore to read. If I am in an ok mood then I can cope weirdo

So, stick with Cuckoo's Nest and then read Catcher just to see what it's all about (or not as the case may be) and then Steinbeck. If I rate Cuckoo's Nest I will give the Cool Aid Acid Test a read too. However, Gatsby is possibly not on my to-read list wink

All before April when Baby Boy makes an appearance and any spare time I get will be spent sleeping instead of reading grin

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Mon 07-Jan-13 19:15:28

Just wanted to update.

I stuck with it and actually thought it was a good story and although I can't say I liked it as such, in that it is a difficult book to say you enjoyed (due to the subject matter) I am pleased that I didn't give up on it.

I loved the character of McMurphy and his affect on the Combine etc, I think I need to read a bit around the story line for any points I missed. Or just watch the film as suggested earlier in the thread grin

I may have shed a little tear at the end.

Have just started Catcher, so far I agree - very easy read (especially in comparison to Cuckoo's Nest).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now