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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars disturbing and ingenius; in a class by itself
'A Clockwork Orange' is the fourth Anthony Burgess novel I've read (after 'One Hand Clapping', 'The Doctor is Sick', and 'The Wanting Seed'), which is strange since 'A Clockwork Orange' is undoubtedly Burgess's most famous novel (thanks in no small part to the film adaptation). I was hesitent in tackling 'A Clockwork Orange' because I knew it contained many invented...
Published on Aug. 7 2001 by lazza

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3.0 out of 5 stars A fantasy response to society's problem with crime
Because I have spent virtually my entire adult life in prison, I´¿m always interested whenever I hear about a book suggesting a different response to crime. Locking people in cages for decades at a time fails to prepare prisoners for the challenges they will face upon release.
Several years ago I heard a fellow prisoner talking about Anthony...
Published on July 13 2003 by Michael Santos


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4.0 out of 5 stars This book made grade 12 English bearable, Nov. 10 2003
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Paperback)
Between Macbeth and a pile of sleepy Can-Lit, getting to read "Clockwork Orange" was a complete break from the rest of the stodgy curriculum. As a 16 year old girl, I loved this book at the time, though I'm sure now years later, the misogyny might irk me. Nonetheless, this book raised so many interesting debates about free will and human morality, I would urge everyone to read it. Burgess created such a thorough rendering of "little alex's" world, right down to the slang of the day. Definite must-read!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Affecting, Aug. 6 2003
By 
Nicholas S. Ludlum (Greenwich, Connecticut United States) - See all my reviews
"A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess is in that special class of 20th century literature that effectively and powerfully exists both in its own world of (science?) ficition and the very real world of the the reader.
The film, also a powerful work of art, should not dissuade anyone from reading this book. In fact, if you've seen the film, you owe it to yourself to read the book and explore the themes and arguments further. Additionally, the book contains a final chapter, not originally available to american readers, that, by its very dissonance with the film, should make anyone interested in either the film or the subject of criminal justice rush to finish the novel.
Finally, the nadsat - the mixture of russian and british slang that Alex speaks in - is almost reason enough to read the book for purely aesthetic reasons. Through nadsat and the careful use of language Burgess creates one of the most affecting, troubling and tangible worlds in 20th century fiction.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A fantasy response to society's problem with crime, July 13 2003
By 
Michael Santos (FCI Fort Dix, NJ) - See all my reviews
Because I have spent virtually my entire adult life in prison, I´¿m always interested whenever I hear about a book suggesting a different response to crime. Locking people in cages for decades at a time fails to prepare prisoners for the challenges they will face upon release.
Several years ago I heard a fellow prisoner talking about Anthony Burgess´¿s novel, A Clockwork Orange. He said that Burgess wrote about the state ´¿reprogramming´¿ prisoners in a way that would ensure the offenders would no longer break the law. I decided to read the book if ever I came across it, and was happy to see it last week.
Burgess tells his story through the first-person accounting of Alex, his teenage protagonist. Alex is a juvenile delinquent who catches his thrills by hurting people and destroying property. Eventually, one of his robberies turns into a homicide, and Alex finds himself in prison. He becomes part of an experimental project where prison doctors cause Alex to experience severe pain and nausea whenever he witnesses or contemplates the possibility of crime. When Alex´¿s mind is completely reprogrammed, he is considered ´¿cured´¿ and released from prison as a free man.
I found the book somewhat difficult to read because Burgess tells the story in the vernacular of a British teenager. Many words are not Standard English, so it´¿s like reading a book in patois. Fortunately, the volume I had included a glossary in the back that I was able to turn to frequently, and through that translation, I was able to understand the book.
Like George Orwell, Burgess uses satire to expose the government´¿s efforts to control all aspects of its citizen´¿s lives. During these Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld times, we´¿re seeing more and more of this governmental intrusion. In A Clockwork Orange, the government tinkers with the thought patterns of criminals in order to bring them into compliance. Once the government perfects its methods, those in control may use those methods to program everyone to think and live in accordance with the government machine. Freedom becomes threatened as citizens become numbed into the New World order.
Although I´¿d like to see the criminal justice system reformed in way where individuals could earn their freedom after they achieved some clearly identifiable objectives, the onus should be on the individual, rather than the government, to make the change. This book was not an easy read, but one that the politically cynical might enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a must read, June 19 2003
By 
Katie (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Paperback)
One of the most unforgettable novels I've ever read. Anthony Burgess' predictions of the future (written in 1962) have not come far from the truth. This novel is a disturbing reflection on the basic structure of our society, on our government and on what it means to be good and evil. In a world where science has the power to turn flawed human beings into perfect machines, one must wonder whether it is moral to turn sadistic individuals into a good doing robots for the sake of preventing crime.
Those of you who have seen Kubrick's film, read the novel just for the sake of finding out what the title means!
If you do chose to read this book, make sure to read the European version, which contains the 21st chapter. Personally, I found the chapter to be unnecessary and unfitting to the dark tone of the novel. It seemed like a forced happy ending to a very dark story. It almost contradicts all the statements Burgess makes about the human race throughout the book. Nevertheless, I recommend that you read it anyway so you could make up you own mind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, June 16 2003
By 
"rikchick16" (Austin, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Paperback)
I love A Clockwork Orange. I'm so glad i read it. It really isnt like anything ive ever read before. Totally in a class by itself. It is a terrifying book that shows how horrible the world could be. The vulgarity and blatant violence only add to the appeal. The message of independence, choice, and maturity hit hard and make the book one of the best. Shocking at times, for some it may be a little hard to take, but give it a try. The slang used and they way you have to figure it out as you read make you feel an attachment to the book and it feels like your own. read this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for All, May 26 2003
By 
Nicole Maronn (Enfield, CT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I had first heard about this controversal novel through the constant padories and tributes of the film adaption. I wanted to see the film for a long time, but it soon gave way to me reading the novel before I saw the film.
Please note, the book and film are TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT VERSIONS. In best intrest, I suggest reading the novel and igorning the film. Kubrick's version is a wonderful peice of work, but I felt robbed of that feeling I had after I had finished the novel, so I regret seeing the film.
Onward, shall we? The plot deals with a teen rebel named Alex, who, along with his gang of "droogs", terrorize the streets of London by raping, killing and barging into homes of those whoever they wish. Suddenly, Alex is left in abandonment by his friends and is arrested in a failed break-in. He is sent to a faclity to undergo a radical experiment inwhich he is "reprogramed" into a model citizen.
Burgess' novel is grand and explores the meaning of a person's personalty and well-being. He also states the questions Is it right to control a person's personality and his free will; as well as the set up of such a program, is is right to do so? While the vocabulary is often confusing and can leave the reader dumb-founded, Burgess based it on the slang of the British and the Russians, which has promted many to formate their own lists of translations, which are proven helpful.
The novel left me amazed and pondering those questions for the longest of time. If you are looking for a good, thinking man's novel, this is a must read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Clockwork Orange, May 7 2003
By 
Allison Czap (Mercy High School) - See all my reviews
A Clockwork Orange expresses the fears of Burgess in a way that the reader eventually comes to sympathize with the main character, Alex. Even though he dotes upon raping and stealing, the end leaves the reader wanting a better life for him. Afer he is taken to prison when his friends turn their backs on him, a certain attachment forms to Alex as he is subjected to Ludovico's Technique, one in which his free choice is taken away. Violence soon makes him want to vomit and commit suicide, along with the classical music he once loved. The moral questions raised in the story about the dreadfulness of having free will taken away from any person raises a bold emotion in anyone reading the story. The haunting emotions Alex feels when he leaves the prison gives an eerie feeling that can't be shaken. However, the ending leaves a satisfaction and a somewhat renewed confidence in those that were once thought to have been so horrible.
This is a perfect summer read for those long nights. It is nothing close to a bedtime story, but one that will keep you turning the pages for hours. Absolutly mind-catching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment, March 1 2003
By 
James Rioux (Syracuse New York, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Hardcover)
1984, A Brave New World, and The Clockwork Orange make up the structure of what we call Satire on Society. I have read this book twice and I still haven't picked up all the details that its pages hold. The gruesom and horrific acts within its covers make the mind run and hide from the idea of its possible truth. Alex, the protagonist and his droogs commit rape, theft, assult, and even murder for the pure pleasure in it. Most of this is covered up using a type of slang known as Nadsat. Although the slang is sometimes hard to understand, it can be picked up quickly. After being caught and forced to reform to society's standards of living("Ludivico's Technique"), he tells the readers at the end his dreams to start a family as a younger man.
Like in Orwell's 1984, this book brings up the question, "Do we want a society where the price of prosperity is the loss of our cherished rights; freedom of speach, press, religion, and even thought?" Read "The Clockwork Orange" and feel the terror, the mind provoking feeling of a world that could be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Burgess', "A Clockwork Orange", Dec 30 2002
By 
Brian P. McDonnell (Holbrook, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Hardcover)
If you no longer are able to make a moral choice for yourself then you stop being human. To be saved, change must come from within, it can't be forced upon you. You have to grow up on your own. If you lose your free will, then you are no longer human and thus can not love or dream. You become in a way a living mechanical thing, or, "A Clockwork Orange".
Anthony Burgess' novel is wonderful, and touches upon several issues with the criminal justice system which still exist today. Should prisons be used to punish, or to reform? If they are used to punish then does the prisoner become a victim? What about the victims? Should they be allowed to have their revenge? Also, what can be done about overcrowding?
The book was also full of lots of irony. In having the main character facing many of his old victims in the later chapters, I thought it seemed very much like a Frank Capra type of movie. However, instead of seeing how much worse life would have been like for all his friends and family if he had not been born, (like it was in "It's a Wonderful Life"), you get to see how badly the main character had affected all of his victims by coming into their lives.
This particular novel contains a controversial last chapter which differs from the version which Stanley Kubrick used to base his movie upon. It seems that the last chapter was originally cut out of the United States version of the novel, and only the British novels had the last one. Now it has been added back in. I can't picture the movie having been any better by having added this extra chapter back into it, but it was good to read the novel the way the author had intended, and it works well in the book form.
After seeing the movie I was surprised to see how short the novel was (less than two hundred pages), but it was packed with excitement. One of the best books I ever read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Quite Like it, Nov. 20 2002
By 
Shanghaied (Carrollton, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Paperback)
This book is a genuinely unique literary experience. Having read some of Burgess other novels, I can only fathom what sort of talent he must have had to completely step outside his own norm in order to adopt a completely unorthodox presentation; focusing strongly on language, humanism, and plot. His other works, Such As "The Doctor Is Sick" showcase his style of using alternate spelling of words to make them sound phoenetically like a certain dialect, where he even "spelled" out lisps in characters who spoke with them, almost as otomotopeia. In "A Clockwork Orange" this device is altered and taken to an extreme; here the words are all new, all unique derivatives of Russian and English syllables combined to form an intuitive language that the reader comes to understand while moving through the novella.
Burgess rationalizes the slang in his introduction of this book, stating that it was meant to make the almost overly-shocking or pornographic nature of it's content seem more acceptable, if that were possible. The slang is very hard to explain and very abstract at first, but once you settle in and get used to Alex's use of it, his words become second nature. That if nothing else is true testament to Burgess' skill in crafting this "nasty little shocker."
To summarize the plot in a few sentences, The story focuses on Alex, a teenager who lives in the near future where the streets are ravaged at night by violence and deviant teenagers. Alex, the main character of the book, is such a teenager, and routinely commits acts of "ultraviolence," including beatings, rapings, burglary, you get the picture. He finally pushes his luck too far and commits an act, and then is incarcerated.
This is just the beginning few events in the novella, and I don't want to ruin the experience should you decide to read it.
This book brings several issues to the reader's attention in terms of how we percieve our own inalienable rights as humans. One of the most important questions this book asks whether we cease to be human when we are stripped of free choice. I'll go no further than this, though I'm only grazing the surface here. Like I said I don't want to ruin the experience for you.
I treasure this book; it is by far one of my favorite three pieces of literature simply because it is daring, psychological, and completely unique in that it teaches a lesson in the most unlikely way imaginable. If you aren't faint of heart, give this one a try, and you may be impressed.
And once you get about 3 quarters of the way through the book, ask yourself if you feel sorry for poor old Alex. You may be surprised at yourself....
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A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess (Mass Market Paperback - July 12 1976)
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