Cuckoo Forevermore

Leonard Szymczak, Author
Leonard Szymczak, Author Evanston Publishing $18 (0p) ISBN 978-1-879260-37-5
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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When a novel's narrator refers to his love interest as ``Aphrodite'' and his penis as ``Freddie,'' readers may suspect trouble. And, sadly, they'd be right. This self-billed ``therapy-thumping sequel'' to Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (written by a psychotherapist, no less) is similar to Kesey's masterpiece only in that ``Cuckoo'' appears in the title. Cuckoo Forevermore stars Peter Pinowski, a 28-year-old psychologist dominated by his mother and afraid to leave home. Randle P. McMurphy he ain't. The story consists of Pinowski's journal entries as he gets a job, gets a girlfriend, gets laid, gets dumped, gets depressed, gets hooked on a Prozac substitute and finally gets a life. Szymczak's protagonist is so passive and so dependent that the reader starts to miss the ministrations of Kesey's Nurse Ratched. Other characters are equally one-dimensional: in turn, Pinowski faces the domineering mother, the overbearing supervisor, the angry feminist, the ditsy blonde, the wisdom-dispensing Hindu, the sex goddess turned ice queen and the doddering old lady. Add to this lines such as ``She caught my starry-eyed stare and returned a smile that ignited my loins,'' and more life is sucked out of the novel. Szymczak has a sense of humor and a few interesting scenes, but there's not nearly enough here to justify this book's artistic pretensions. (Feb.)
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