A Clockwork Orange | 4 star review

A Clockwork Orange | 4 star reviewA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
four-stars
Genres: Crime
Published by W. W. Norton Company

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".

A Clockwork Orange was a book that was on my 2018 must-read books list, and I chose it for the month of October because I had heard about how creepy it was and how awful the violence in the book is. Now please don’t misunderstand me when I say I was underwhelmed, the violence in this book is some of the worst, but I don’t know whether I have been desensitised to violence but I wasn’t massively shocked with it. Certainly nothing like what I thought it was going to be. However this book really drew me into a completely different world, and that was something I really enjoyed. 

I hate using the word “enjoyed” when I talk about A Clockwork Orange because the things that Alex does are not things to be enjoyed, and I’m not sure you can completely separate his actions from the rest of the book. I’m going to try though because once I had gotten past the violence and everything that is involved there were some really great things about this book. So please when I say I enjoyed this book I’m not talking about the awful violence that takes place. I know that should be obvious but I know that there will be people out there ready and waiting to judge. 

The first thing of note about A Clockwork Orange is definitely the language. It took me so long to wrap my head around, and I think I would have given up if it wasn’t for the fact that my copy had a glossary in the back. I can see why people have given up on this book, although I found the language immersive (with the help of the glossary) I could also see it being a barrier. The words are very complex and most of the time they don’t even resemble the word they’re replacing, but I think it was a brilliant part of the book. I loved the challenge and the added part of the story. It almost made you feel like you were in the story – a fully immersive experience.

I also think the whole concept of the story and everything that Alex goes through throughout A Clockwork Orange is really interesting. I had never thought about the consequences of taking the choice of evil away from someone and whether that automatically makes them good or something in between. I think that’s what I liked about this book the most was how it made me think about the choices you make and the importance of those choices. 

I would recommend A Clockwork Orange in a heartbeat. It isn’t for the faint hearted and I would go into the story expecting some awful things to occur but I don’t think that should overpower the message within this book. 

Have you read A Clockwork Orange? What did you think about the story and the violence? Let me know in the comments!

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