Petra's Reviews > A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
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Sep 26, 11

Read from September 14 to 22, 2011

Free will: good or bad? If a person exercises their free will to do bad, should they be stopped? At what cost?
If one’s free will is removed, what remains of the person? How important is free will to a person’s make-up? When is the line crossed between an individual’s right to be themselves and society’s right to protect itself?
I listened to the audio version of this book and found the Nadsat slang to be lyrical and rhythmic and truly added to the context and reality of this story. It kept the reader in mind that these people are teens. Their acts of violence are so hard-core that it’s easy to forget this fact.
Now to the story: This story is freaking awesome. Set in a futuristic world, it’s at the same time timeless. This could be any group of disconnected teenagers in any year. It shows the effects of recreational drugs on thought and perspective. Alex could be any teen in any year in any country.
Truly a great story. Until the final chapter. According to the introduction, American publishers did not publish the final chapter. They viewed it as a cop-out. Although I don’t see it as a cop-out, it does weaken the story. There’s too much of a shift between the end of Chapter 20 and what happens in Chapter 21. The chapter made this story very much a “regular” coming of age book with nadsat and ultraviolence being nothing more than a passing fad. No more and no less than today’s “hot” colour or fashion. It means nothing tomorrow.
Also, the character of Alex hasn’t developed throughout the book. He still thinks only of himself on the last page. (view spoiler) This selfish “me, me and only me” attitude shows that at 19 Alex is the same self-centered and disconnected teen as he was at 15 with his droogies, milk-plus and ultraviolence and his trendy platties. There’s no connection with people and society.
Oh well, it’s still a great story. Highly recommended.
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Comments (showing 1-8)




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message 8: by Loretta (new)

Loretta I'm kind of afraid to read this, despite the acclaim, having seen the (IMO) overly explicit film. I'll be curious to see what you think.


Petra I haven't seen the film. The audio is violent but not explicit. It's very well done, I find, but I'm only on Chap. 4. There's no background and I'm wondering how someone gets that distanced from feelings and responsibility to others.


message 6: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith I need to move this up on my TBR list! Thanks for a great review!


Julie We seem to have similar feelings about the final chapter!


Petra I'm going to watch the movie over the holidays (what better time, eh, to watch a violent movie? :D). I wonder if the movie will include the final chapter?


message 3: by Julie (last edited Dec 03, 2011 10:35AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Julie I don't think it does. Never saw it myself.


message 2: by Max (new) - rated it 4 stars

Max Your review leads with some great questions, the same ones I was left with. Books like Brave New World, 1984 and The Manchurian Candidate raised questions like these. What books are hitting this theme today?


Petra This is going to sound odd but in some ways, in some minor parts, The Passage kind of does. Throughout the book are people with a remnant of their humanity left after it was taken away. It's a sliver that peeps out once in awhile but that sense that they are still there and still have a teensy bit of free will is apparent, even if they can't always act upon it.
But that's a good question. I've been pondering it and can't yet come up with any contemporary books that hit that theme. It may still come to me. :)


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