Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl was published in the US by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1964 and in the UK by George Allen & Unwin in 1967.

The story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory revolves around little Charlie Bucket and his trip to the mysterious Mr. Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory.

The book is extremely short. I finished it in about an hour.

I loved Charlie and his unusual family. Grandpa Joe is especially lovable.

All the chocolates in the book sound delicious! I wish at least some of them were real.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been adapted for the screen twice. First in 1971 as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and in 2005 as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I have watched the 2005 Johnny Depp version of it. Although the plot of the 2005 version differs to a certain extent from the book, the movie version was very enjoyable.

Some of Mr. Wonka’s remarks are very funny. I laughed out loud at certain parts,

‘Whips!’ cried Veruca Salt. ‘What on earth do you use whips for?’

‘For whipping cream, of course,’ said Mr Wonka. ‘How can you whip cream without whips? Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all unless it’s been whipped with whips. Just as a poached egg isn’t a poached egg unless it’s been stolen from the woods in the dead of night!’

I liked the illustrations by Quentin Blake. They fit Dahl’s story perfectly. No wonder they collaborated for so many years.

I liked reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but I have my reservations about the book. All of the naughty children get their comeuppance seemingly by ‘accident’, accidents which were rather nasty at times, the Oompa-Loompas obvious joy at the accidents and their songs about those accidents, all of this is frankly disturbing.

I read Roald Dahl’s The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories, an adult short story collection, last year and found that Dahl’s vision can often be very dark. Even in a juvenile fiction book like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I can see darker undertones. Overall, I enjoyed the book but I just can’t help but get uneasy at some of Dahl’s rather wicked sense of humour.

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