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Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night” – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

Initial Thoughts: I don’t know how many times I watched Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I had both movies on DVD, and on rainy days, I would sometimes watch them back-to-back. For whatever reason, I neglected to read the original novel by Roald Dahl… until now…gobstopper-pile

Summary

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!” – Goodreads

The Review

Could this story get any better? Apparently, it can. When I began reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I was flooded with childhood nostalgia I had from watching the movie adaptations. Both movies capture the essence of the book rather well, though it turns out that the 2005 adaptation (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is closer to the book.

Charlie Bucket is a poor child with a fascination with Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. For years, Charlie has seen the factory whip up marvelous candy creations. One day, it is announced that five golden tickets would be placed in Wonka chocolate bars. Anyone who finds the golden ticket would have a chance to visit Wonka’s factory. Charlie wants nothing more than to win a golden ticket. But, Charlie and his family can hardly afford to put food on the table besides buy a bunch of chocolate bars. Suddenly, the first four golden tickets are found by four obnoxious children. When all hope seems to be lost, Charlie suddenly finds the last golden ticket. Little does he know, Willy Wonka’s factory is no ordinary chocolate factory.

As I have noticed while reading James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl does not shy away from talking about Charlie’s troubles. He spends a longer time in the book explaining how thin and waifish Charlie is because of mal-nutrition. The movies,instead, quickly jumps from Charlie’s troubles to the whimsical chocolate factory. For this reason, I found the book version of Charlie Bucket to be well-developed as a character. If Charlie hadn’t won the last golden ticket, this book might have had a darker ending without the magic of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

I was really struck by Roald Dahl’s attempts at putting forth life-lessons in a whimsical book. If a child were to read the book, they probably wouldn’t get to caught up in the Oompa Loompas’ song about the dangers of too much television, or the dangers of too much chocolate. These subtle messages are more for the parents than they are for the children. It is as if Roald Dahl used each child to demonstrate bad parenting at its finest. Sure, the book is about a chocolate factory where bad things happen to children who misbehave. But, it is also about punishing parents for their bad parenting.

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.) ” – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

I also really loved anticipating what the Oompa Loompas would sing. I remembered all the lyrics from the Oompa Loompas’ songs from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). There were a few alterations in the film with alternative lyrics, but the overall jist remains ever the same. When reading Oompa Loompas’ songs, I was easily struck by how masterful Roald Dahl is at writing poems that would delight children. They are as whimsical as Willy Wonka himself.

I would recommend this book to… well… anyone. Anyone who is a fan of Roald Dahl’s other novels, or their adaptations would love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Also, be warned! If you are trying to cut back on sweets (especially chocolate), do not read this book. I had the compulsion to buy a chocolate bar, and I gave in unfortunately. The aromatic chocolate descriptions are enough to send anyone off the edge… in a good way, of course.

Final Rating:

A- Cat

About the Book

Title: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Author: Roald Dahl

Series: Charlie Bucket (Book #1: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Book #2: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator)

Year Published: 1964

Pages: 155

Genres & Subjects: Fiction, Children's fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Classic

 

Until Next Time,

-Alice

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