Thursday, September 16, 2010


Gentle Readers,

Occasionally a work of art transcends its flaws to become very good or, sometimes, even great.

The first work up for discussion is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.

I won't go so far as to say that this novel is great, but certainly it falls into the very good category. It has been much loved for quite some time and was made into an excellent movie.

The movie came out when I was in high school. One of my English teachers said he would never see the movie because the book meant too much to him.

I understood.

And what flaws must Cuckoo's Nest transcend?

The book is misogynistic. The female characters fall into one of two categories: heart-of-gold prostitute or Queen of Emasculation.

Yet, I defend this novel. Randall P. McMurphy is an unforgettable character and the drama of the story is overwhelming. I quite often give this novel to young people, especially young men, who tell me they don't like to read. Invariably, they give Cuckoo's Nest a thumbs up and say, This is the best book I've ever read.

And getting them to read is what it's all about. It's not as if I'm giving them pornography or crap. This is a very good novel that transcends its flaws.

Next time: A movie that transcends its creepiness factor to be on Lola's Great Movies List.

One flew east
And one flew west
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest.

Infinities of love,



  1. Saw (and loved) the movie; never read the book. I bet it's even better than the movie... maybe I'll add it to the stack on my bedside table. :)

  2. I think it's rare for a movie to be better than the book. Ken Kesey was quite a character himself. I heard him speak at a university a few years before he died. He was this sweet, rotund white-haired guy wearing a red beret and he didn't talk about writing. He spent the entire time talking about how pot should be legalized. Nobody could change the subject. He wrote one other novel (that I know of), Sometimes A Great Notion. I've never read it and I really should. A friend told me that it's so different from Cuckoo's Nest that you'd never know the same man wrote them. Thanks for reading and commenting. Still can't find out what that damn toothpick-thingy is. Incredibly annoying.

  3. Maybe you should have two for your intellectual readers, and one for your People Magazine types.


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