[REVIEW] A Clockwork Orange

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Book Title: A Clockwork Orange
Author: Anthony Burgess
Series: None
Genres: Dystopian
A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title.
In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to "redeem" him—the novel asks, "At what cost?"
This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked".


This was a book I was supposed to read in high school for one of my summer readings but surprise, I did not read it. I have it in my mind that I need to read all the books that I should have read in high school now because life is going to get away from me and I may never get another chance to read all those glorious words.

A Clockwork Orange is a novel about a boy who is a fan of ultra-violence with his friends, or droogs. The story takes us through one night with Alex and his droogs as they go through out the town dishing out all kinds of violent endeavors on a few people. At the end of the night Alex actually gets arrested by the millicents (police). We also go to prison with Alex as he is put through an experimental treatment to cure him of those feelings that make him ultra-violent. The last part of the novel is the aftermath of Alex being cure and released from prison.

My edition of the novel has 192 pages with the final 21st chapter that wasn't in the original USA publication.

I thought this novel was pretty amazing, aside from the detailed violence. The story was very interesting in the sense of we see a young boy going down a terrible path and then the consequences of those actions and the outcome. I also enjoyed how the novel goes in to the exploration of free will. This is played out while Alex is at prison getting treatments. We see it in the staged action towards Alex just before he is released in the last part as well.

The only thing that bothered me was the made up language; Nadsat, created by Burgess for the novel. Some words were given the translation at the beginning of the story. Unfortunately most of the words you were forced to come to your own conclusion about what they were supposed to mean.Of course once I finished the novel I stumbled upon an appendix of all the words for the Nadsat language.

Like I already mentioned, my edition of the novel has the controversial last chapter.  When I finished chapter 20 I took a little time to reflect before reading on. This was the point that the original publication in the USA ended, it is also where the film ends. I found that I was wanting so much more on a conclusion. That chapter makes it seem like Alex was going back to his old ways, in a sense I guess that is what they wanted people to think about this in the end, originally. Unfortunately I was extremely upset and couldn't believe that that used to be the end of the novel. I told several coworkers how much it bothered me. The last chapter proves that Alex is cured. He sees one of this old droogs grown up and married. Alex finally mentions that he wants to get married and have kids too. He even mentioned how his kids would, of course, be exactly like him.

Overall I recommend this book with caution because of the ultra-violence. It was a great read that I am happy to have read. I will allow my children to read this one day. It is one of the modern classics that I believe everyone should read at least once.

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