Book Reivew- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Published by Penguin Books on August 25, 1977
Genres: Classics, Fiction, Literature, Psychology
Pages: 320
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Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was definitely an interesting read. It was a bit out of my comfort zone when it comes to books, so I wasn’t very surprised when I didn’t end up liking it that much.

The book was split up into four parts that were sort of like very long chapters. The first part was very confusing, and I didn’t know what was happening for most of the time. The narrator, Chief Bromden, was not easy to understand, which I think is kind of the point, but I found it more annoying than anything.

After the first part was over, the book started getting a lot more interesting, and I began to enjoy it more. The plot started to pick up and the characters began to differentiate and become their own people.

The end was a bit disappointing, and I wish I got a bit more of an explanation of what happens. Overall, the book was not bad, but I don’t think I am going to be reading it again any time soon. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes classics, and has time to sit down and spend some good time reading.

I am going to give One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest three out of five hearts.

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Book Review- Passing

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Passing by Nella Larsen
Published 1929
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, African American, Literature
Pages: 122
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Irene Redfield, the novel’s protagonist, is a woman with an enviable life. She and her husband, Brian, a prominent physician, share a comfortable Harlem town house with their sons. Her work arranging charity balls that gather Harlem’s elite creates a sense of purpose and respectability for Irene. But her hold on this world begins to slip the day she encounters Clare Kendry, a childhood friend with whom she had lost touch. Clare—light-skinned, beautiful, and charming—tells Irene how, after her father’s death, she left behind the black neighborhood of her adolescence and began passing for white, hiding her true identity from everyone, including her racist husband. As Clare begins inserting herself into Irene’s life, Irene is thrown into a panic, terrified of the consequences of Clare’s dangerous behavior. And when Clare witnesses the vibrancy and energy of the community she left behind, her burning desire to come back threatens to shatter her careful deception.

Passing was an interesting book. It followed Irene, an African American woman in the 1920’s, and how her life changes when an old friend named Clare comes back into her life.
As the title suggests, the book is about “passing” race. In this case, African Americans passing as whites. The characters were certainly intriguing. Clare was unpredictable and a little scary. She didn’t really care about anything except her own desires. Irene, on the other hand, believes that she cares about her family, and she does for the most part, although there are some things that she can only see her way.

The book takes place over several years and is written in three parts. The layout almost reminds me of a play, which is an interesting way to lay out a novel. The first part sets up the characters and the idea of “passing”. The second delves deeper into the issue and establishes who each of the characters are, two years after the first part. The third part is like a finale. Everything spins out of control until it comes crashing down in the end.
Passing deals with issues that we are still dealing with today, no matter how far we think we have come. It is interesting to see how the characters in this book regard racism, and what it actually means (for them at least) to pretend to be someone (something?) they are not.

I didn’t necessarily love this book, but it was a very thoughtful story, and I am glad to have read it. I would recommend this to lovers of literature, and anyone who wants a new perspective on racial issues both today and in the past.

I am going to give Passing three out of four hearts.

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Book Review- Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
Published October 1966
Genres: Literature, Contemporary, Horror
Pages: 20
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Her name was Connie. She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right. Her mother, who noticed everything and knew everything…

It took a couple re-reads of the short story to understand what was going on. Connie is an interesting character, battling with her boundaries and where she stands in the world. When she is left home alone and a man named Arnold Friend dives up to her house, she begins to see a darker side of the world.

This story was intriguing, and definitely worth the read. It is short enough to read in one sitting, although it is packed full of events. I loved the complexity of the story, and how more and more about the characters was revealed through their actions rather than through being told.

The ending of the story was a bit vague, so it is hard to know exactly what happens. It is left more open ended, which just adds to the mystery and intrigue of the story.

I would recommend this story to lovers of horror, who are looking for something a little more classic than what they are used to. This is also a great story for people who love when books get them thinking. This one will definitely stay in the back of your mind for quite a while.

I am going to give Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? four out of five hearts.

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Book Reivew- The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published by Scribner on April 10 1925
Genres: Classics, literature
Pages:
180
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THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby was a wild ride. It was full of lies and deception from every character, yet there was something about the story that was sincere and beautiful. Fitzgerald manipulates the English language like no other, and I found myself peeling back layer after layer of meaning.

The characters were so lifelike it felt as if they were not characters at all, but real people that lived spectacular lives. But somehow at the same time they too outrageous to believe. There is too much dimension to comprehend with one sitting.

The Great Gatsby is definitely not the kind of book you can curl up with on a rainy afternoon and read. It is the kind of book that you read chapter by chapter, pausing after each one and trying to wrap your brain around what just happened. It’s the kind of book you want to read with a friend or group of people, just because there is no way one person can uncover the hidden messages in the pages by themselves.

I think everyone should read The Great Gatsby at some point in their lives, just because it is something that makes you ponder the true nature of society. I am going to give The Great Gatsby four out of five hearts.

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