Greg's Reviews > A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
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's review
Feb 29, 2012

liked it
Recommended to Greg by: Posterity.
Recommended for: Everyone.
Read in March, 2012 — I own a copy

I don't consider anything in this review a spoiler, because I regard the book's plot and content almost a part of popular culture.
I was pretty underwhelmed by this book.
A Clockwork Orange has most of the standard dystopian tropes, except it stumbled upon a few things that 15-year-olds (or at least 15-year-olds I knew when I was fifteen) actually do - Joyriding, gangfighting for fun, pill-popping, beating up random people for fun, and so on.
I found the Eastern European-derived additions to rhyming slang ("Nadsat") as well as Alex's love of chamber and opera music the most gripping parts of this otherwise-cliché book. And really, the nadsat just gets annoying. By the time I knew the vocabulary well enough that I didn't need to look at the glossary at the end of the book every time I couldn't guess the meaning from context, I had about 25 pages left. This is magnified by how short the book is.

Alex's relationship with the Church of England and the violence in the Bible while in jail could have been expanded more, and I don't understand why the author didn't. I've always been fascinated with how downright lewd and violent portions of the Old Testament get, so that someone obsessed with violence takes refuge in it during a difficult time seems perfectly reasonable, and worth more exploration than this book gives it.
The reader is left with a vague impression that religion is just another form of a human need/drive/predisposition for violence, and never gets any explanation or investigation into why.

I'd characterize it as a better-executed Fahrenheit 451.

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