A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange Cover

A Clockwork Orange


2 things to know before my review:

1) Please get a dictionary for Nadsat as you read the book -- the teenage language or slang used heavily throughout -- so that you can appreciate everything better. I disagree with the reviewers who say not to worry about it and to just go with the Burgess's "flow of consciousness" and context to decipher the story. It is virtually indecipherable without one. If not in the book itself, it is easily found online for free. I just printed it out and carried it with the book itself as I read.

2) Make sure you read the correct version -- this being the one with 21 chapters as intended by Burgess. The ending is different from the movie. His introduction is also valuable and enlightening to read when you are finished with the book.


A murderous teenage criminal is "reformed" by the state through a combination of drugs and forced viewing of what amounts to torture / violence porn.

Challenging to read because of need of dictionary mentioned above. I have mixed feelings. I hated Alex and felt no sympathy toward him (or at least considerably less sympathy than I would think Burgess was after on the part of the reader), but I did care about what happened in the book. It brings out interesting questions of morality and how having a choice between right and wrong is part of what makes us human. However, it is heavy-handed at times with the "ultra-violence" as Alex calls it. I have no desire to see the movie, because if the violence, rape, etc. are as bad as the book, it deserves close to an X-rating.