One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Age: 24

Pages: 76 / 281; 27%
ISBN: 9780141181226

The Reason for the Reaping: An American classic. This one has been a long time coming. From over the cuckoo’s nest. *atmospheric bird noises*

Great Comparisons: Eileen, The Things They Carried

As I Lay Summarizing: Chief “Broom” Bromden is in a mental hospital and things are trippy af. Probably literally idk the Chief is like “we are getting fucked with in here” and I don’t think he’s lying.

The Line That Killed Me: “It was better than she’d dreamed. They were all shouting to outdo one another, going further and further, no way of stopping, telling things that wouldn’t ever let them look one another in the eye again. The nurse nodding at each confession and saying Yes, yes, yes” (45). Death by a death-like grip.

Best Character: Poor Mr. Bancini

Why [As] You Like It: So. Fascinating. Omg Chief Bromden let me get inside your head. He brings you into his creepy, weird, fascinating, and trippy world and doesn’t let you turn away. There’s a reason this book has defined writing, esp when it comes to conversations surrounding mental health. Read this to be a better person and learn.

 Why I’m Gone, Girl: There’s only one woman, and she’s the antagonist. Sooooo yay patriarchy. When femininity is directly associated with evil it’s v annoying and sad. Idc when it was written; it’s shitty to see it.

Last Line, Last Chance: “…cog-and-track affair at….”

Will I turn the page, or toss it into Mount Doom?

Reading critically is very important, y’all. I’m turning the page, for all the learning and wonder this book is starting to offer.

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Age: 24

Pages: 76 / 361; 21%
ISBN: 9781401322250 

The Reason for the Reaping: Lauren Groff wrote Fates and Furies, a National Book Award finalist (yaaass). This is her first novel.

The Great Comparisons: Love in the Time of Cholera, The House of the Spirits

As I Lay Summarizing: Willie has been busy being v. scandalous. Panicky, embarrassed and somewhat grovelly, she retreats to her childhood home of Templeton, where Jacob Franklin Temple (*cough* James Fenimore Cooper *cough*) happens to have lived. Insert a monster, and now you understand the title.

The Line That Killed Me: “And as I walked, I believed myself to be an Adam setting foot in a new Eden, sinless and wild-eyed, my sinews still stiff with creation” (13). Death by vast opportunity and optimism.

Best Character: Remarkable Prettybones

Why [As] You Like It: If Fates and Furies was not your favorite (same), seeing this better new perspective from Groff is refreshing. The elements of magical realism and the overall mystic tone emanating from the landscape and the characters make Templeton a weird but pleasant setting for Willie’s groveling and embarrassment. Plus, if you like what happens when you see someone you haven’t seen since high school, you’ll like what keeps happening to Willie.

Why I’m Gone, Girl: If you have not read The Last of the Mohicans or anything else by James Fenimore Cooper (is that blasphemous? idk), you’re going to miss quite a few references. I know because I’m missing them too =D. Granted, Groff warned you with an Author’s Note in the beginning… but still. It’s a hassle to stop and read or research first (is that lazy? idk). Plus, if you don’t like what happens when you see someone you haven’t seen since high school, you won’t like what keeps happening to Willie.

Last Line, Last Chance: “…opposite the baseball museum and next to the post office. I would….”

Will I turn the page, or toss it into Mount Doom?

Despite the interesting place that is Templeton, I’m not really feeling it. While better than Fates and Furies, it still feels stale to me. I’m going to set this aside, with a shrug.