This is my one of my husband's childhood favorites, and I had never read it until now.
It is quite a story - an adventure plot with lots of interestingThis is my one of my husband's childhood favorites, and I had never read it until now.
It is quite a story - an adventure plot with lots of interesting events to move it along. Stevenson is not much for detail or description (traits I value a lot and the reason this book only got three stars for me), but you certainly can't say the story isn't interesting. A good quick read and something I hope my kids will read, too.
**spoiler alert** Before you continue onto the rant portion of this review, please note that I enjoyed reading this book, I thought the language was b**spoiler alert** Before you continue onto the rant portion of this review, please note that I enjoyed reading this book, I thought the language was brilliant and a fun adventure, and I found the plot to be original and insightful.
Having said that...
I feel like there are other books that do what "A Clockwork Orange" tried to do, but better - even other Burgess books.
Most of what was revolutionary about this book came from shock value. There is so much violence, so much sociopathy, that of course this book feels new and different. But when it comes down to it, that was all that was really there.
I believed for a while that the theme of the story was important and valuable. But then I read the last chapter - the chapter that Burgess so vehemently defends in the preface to this book. For those of you who have clicked on this link but actually read an earlier edition of the book, Burgess laments throughout his entire preface that in previous American editions, the publishers cropped out the last (21st) chapter.
After reading to the end of the 20th, stopping, and giving a thought to what the book would have said to me had it ended there, I moved on. And by the end of the 21st chapter, I was disgusted. The 21st chapter of this book is a complete cop-out that reduces the entire message of the book to a condescending, parental attitude of "Don't worry, they'll grow out of it."
The implications of this are twofold, the first being that the root of the evil in this book, which was in earlier chapters suggested to be a morally bankrupt society, is actually nothing more than teenage impetuousness. The second is a facet that Burgess completely ignores: even if youth is the root of all evil, how can we be so nonchalant about it? Will there not always be youth? Do we then not have a responsibility to make youth something other than what Burgess asserts that it is - violent, rebellious, and worthless? The moral responsibilities we as a society have to combat this sort of thing are never addressed, and I closed the book feeling like a child who received a pat on the head, an empty reassurance, and an "And they all lived happily ever after" at the end of a bedtime story full of wicked witches and horrible villains.
I suppose it's a matter of opinion. I'm sure the modern age must have made me less content with stories written solely for the purpose of a happy ending and I am predisposed to authors who take the risk of ending on an unsatisfactory note. But whatever the reason, I was extremely dissatisfied after finishing the 21st chapter, whereas after finishing the 20th, I was merely nonplussed....more