Well, I finished listening to A Clockwork Orange and I really did enjoy it. (Even though I confess to fast forwarding over some of the ultra-violence. The really bad bits were not for me.)
To begin with, the reader, Tom Hollander, was fantastic! He really brought the character to life. Impressive. He definitely added to the book with his performance. If you choose to listen to the book instead of reading it, his is the version to get.
Anthony Burgess claimed to have written Orange in three weeks. If that's true, then I want to pursue some of his books that he took all of a month or more to write. If he thinks he's done better, then I'm all for reading them. He made the character of Alex absolutely deplorable, but also somehow appealing. I mean, this is an out-of-control hoodlum who literally beats someone to death just on a lark. Yet, you still end up liking the character and caring what happens to him. No easy trick.
About the controversial last chapter... Hmmm... I have to admit I liked the book ending with the last chapter (the missing American chapter) and I think I was more satisfied with the story for having read (heard) it. In a way, I can see why Kubrick ended the movie the way he did. It is not a happy ending, but it is definitely a movie ending. Should Burgess have been as bitter as he was about the book/movie? Well...