Maureen's Reviews > A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
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's review
Jul 08, 08

really liked it
bookshelves: experimental, novel
Recommended for: everyone
Read in January, 1972

I find this book almost as impossible to review as it would be to look away from the violence that unfolds in its pages. Inside the mind of Alex is a murdering fifteen year old who paradoxically loves classical music. Along with his mates, the droogs, Alex wreaks havoc on random people who cross his path, meting out vehement brutality against a largely unsuspecting population.

When he is caught and submitted to brainwashing, the story moves into an even higher gear, speculating as it does about the role of free will and the government's role in perpetrating experimental punishment against one who remains defiant to the end. Conditioning Alex to become ill when he hears his beloved Beethoven is a cruel twist. Even though the original ending is not a traditional one, in that Alex submits to the demands of society but continues to be unrepentant, it remains true to the spirit of the story.

Much has been made about the made of the nadsat slanguage that Alex and his peers speak. To me, it adds an extra dimension to the story, because it serves as a window into the thinking of these ultra-violent youths. It draws the reader in, so that it becomes impossible not to like Alex, even when the reader is simultaneously condemning his outrageously vile mode of living.
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