Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Clockwork Orange: Goals #99 & #100

So goal #99 was to read or see A Clockwork Orange. Since I decided to read the book, it also meets goal #100 because it is a banned book.

Two or three people made comments when I mentioned I was going to read A Clockwork Orange. Universally, their response was about how much they hated the book or movie.

I wouldn't say I hated the book, but I didn't enjoy it either. Of course it's not the kind of book that's supposed to be enjoyed, I think.

Honestly, I see why it's considered 'literature'. It has blatant themes and symbols, heavy moralizing and political commentary, and difficult to read writing style. It's Catch 22/Brave New World as written by Jack Kerouac.

It reads like 'On the Road' but with way too much made up slang. It was the fictious slang that got to me. I've read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, and so I understand the need to 'world build' through language choice. But this was just absurd. When half of the words in the sentence a completely made up, it's not creative. Given how rich a language English is, I feel it's a poor reflection on the writer if he needs to make up that much crap. There's a point where it stops adding character and starts detracting from the story and Burgess passed it.

I'd like to say that the book reminded me of what I think of as 'classical anime': a good story that's killed at the end when the author heavy-handedly shovels in an overbearing moralistic commentary. Unfortunately, A Clockwork Orange didn't have a good story (or really much of a story) to start with. And Burgess didn't really wait that long to start shoveling.

I'd say file and forget, but at least it's a book that might be worth making cultural or literary allusions to if I'm ever forced into a conversation with a pretentious litterary nut.

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