Wednesday, October 20, 2010
If you're tired of reading the same ol' stories with a goody two-shoes protagonist, who has some sort of dilemma then through a miraculous epiphany he finds his way and everyone holds hands and sings kumbaya, then this is the book for you! (Whatever you do, do not read the last chapter!!!!)
This is a very dark and satirical novel with a very fresh dialogue. Burgess uses a language called Nadsat to alienate the main character and his "droogies" from the rest of the world. If you have the capacity to read at a slightly higher level (like Shakespeare or Dante), or are enamored by the challenge, then this story will have you quoting it months after you're finished with it. And if you're IQ is above average you might even recognize the author's sporadic humor and sarcasm.
Alex suffers from some kind of psychopathic disorder, and the society he lives in has incubated all the malice that lives within him. He is very clever, brave, witty, articulate, and not exactly what you would call a delicate flower.
After the government experiments with a highly effective and novel rehabilitation method, Alex becomes an ideal citizen, but he suffers every day and wants to kill himself. His life becomes "Clockwork" and loses its purpose (I don't know where the orange part comes from).
As you read it you will be confused as to how you are cheering on this menace, which kills, robs, and does other horrific activities. However, this is where Burgess' genius becomes apparent and makes the book a classic. You the reader experience what Alex experiences when he goes through the rehabilitation process, he starts feeling and doing things that are contradictory to his natural state of being, and hence becomes mere "clockwork." Even though he is a malevolent character you yourself are in oppression of something greater and can't help liking him and hoping for his reincarnation so to speak.
All of the characters are interesting and the encounters with one another are real. The only folly of the book is its 21st chapter. I don't know hat happened here but the book is pure magic until its last chapter, where it abandons its key premise and succumbs to social pressures and suddenly becomes politically correct. Nonetheless, the book is profound intelectual bliss-you can end with the 20th chapter and it makes complete sense.