I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, having heard great things about this classic novel. I enjoyed the twisted, trippy journey as the main character Alex, a teenaged gang member associated with hideous crimes, is put away in jail and then used as a guinea pig in the government’s experiment to end violent tendencies in criminals. Alex was injected with drugs that made him feel tremendously ill and was forced to watch heinous and violent acts. In a Pavlovian method of association, Alex was eventually brainwashed to be incapable of violence.
This incapability to act violently leaves Alex a victim to the revenge of one of his old comrades in a savage beating. Seeking refuge, Alex wanders to a house where a seemingly charitable man takes him in. Alex soon realizes this man, F. Alexander, is one of his many victims from his streak of crime. This man’s wife, earlier in the story, was brutally raped by Alex and his gang and later died.
F. Alexander is not only a victim of Alex’s atrocious violence, but also an active political figure against the government which drugged and brainwashed Alex. Eventually the politically-charged man who took Alex in discovers the truth about Alex and in turn uses Alex in his revolutionary plot all the while attempting to kill him using the torture inflicted on him by the government.
F. Alexander’s plan to kill Alex foils and Alex ends up in the hospital and therefore, in the hands of the government once again. They decide to reverse the effects of their experiment and release Alex back to his violent self.
The book takes you through a winding trip of heinous crime volleying between good and evil and what it really means to be either. I feel I need to read it again to really understand the full messages and themes involved in this complex and psychological thriller.