Review: A Clockwork Orange

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I’m slowly discovering why the classics are deemed the classics. While all of them are in unique and interesting worlds, they all seem to have a certain flair about them. Many times, the plot (on an extremely dumbed-down basis) is largely the same. Dystopian futures seem all too common, and after reading a few of these, the plots can get predictable. Maybe that’s why they’re the classics; I don’t know.

That said, I really enjoyed A Clockwork Orange. The future Anthony Burgess creates sure is odd…but hey, at the rate our society is going, raping and killing people in the night may become common practice before too long. The story centers around Alex and his friends (droogs). They walk around in the middle of the night and, you guessed it: rape, rob, and kill. It’s not like their bad kids, though, oh no. This is common practice. 212-page story short, they get caught, and the narrator is sent to a place to be reformed. Things happen after that, but I’m not going to say anymore and inadvertently spoil anything.

Alex was quite a character (I mean this in both a literal and figurative sense). One second he seemed almost capable of feeling remorse and the next he’d be committing unspeakable crime. He was a smartass and a thinker at the same time. He shows promise of change, but we are never really able to see how he would have turned out on his own. His friends were about as interesting as watching paint dry, but that’s unimportant since they screw him over anyway. Alex’s journey springs to mind a troubled youth going to juvie for the first time…except much, much darker. Once you get to the end of the tale, you’ll realize just what the author was trying to say, and, consequently, why this is hailed a modern classic. It fits the mold almost to a T.

I’d recommend you all read A Clockwork Orange just because it is an enjoyable story. If you aren’t one for bigger meanings, don’t look for one, simple as that. There is, however, one thing I should probably caution you about before you go spending your hard-earned money on something just because I told you to. There is a language in this book, one that Burgess created. It is unique to the novel and I can see why it was thrown in there, but OH MY SWEET LORD IT IS ANNOYING! There’s no adjusting to this; you are thrown right in with nonsense words that won’t make sense at all unless you look them up. I had to look up each word about twice before it finally stuck. Malenky? What the hell is that? Oh, it means little or tiny. Ok. Glad I had to waste time doing that. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It’s not the end of the world, but it gets mundane after about two words and really sours the reading experience. Some words are listed with their English equivalent, but I found that a majority were not. Maybe I just wasn’t reading close enough.

That really is the only drawback to A Clockwork Orange. It’s a quick read. I managed to read it in two days, even with my hectic schedule. It’s on many “essential” reading lists, so if you wanna get “cultured” it’s a nice place to start. I have no other complaints about the novel; it was pretty good. I now own the film, but I’ll save that review for a rainy day. I’ll give this one a 4.75 outta 5.

-Currently, I’m reading the first nonfiction book on the list: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. I’ve only read the introduction so far, but it looks very promising. See you all next week.

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