71. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
Dates: 5/21/20 – 5/22/20 (2.5 hours)
Plot: Fantastic confectioner and inventor, Willy Wonka, invites 5 children – chosen by his famous Golden Ticket system – to tour his chocolate factory.
Experience Before Reading: As a child, Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors. I’ve read most of his books and took the stories with me well into adulthood.
Takeaway: Maybe it’s because I just finished Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that I felt the need to read another English children’s classic. I’m not sure. But I’m glad I did. It’s just as whimsical as I remember. Roald Dahl has a unique writing style in that he almost writes like a child, rambling on like only a child would:
And what a palace it was! It had one hundred rooms, and everything was made of either dark or light chocolate! The bricks were chocolate, and the cement holding them together was chocolate, and the windows were chocolate, and all the walls and ceilings were made of chocolate, so were the carpets and the pictures and the furniture and the beds; and when you turned on the taps in the bathroom, hot chocolate came pouring out.Chapter 3
Additionally, Dahl shows and doesn’t tell. The story moves quickly. Willy Wonka himself picks up the pace by telling his guests that they need to hurry up. There’s never a moment to digest the craziness, it’s just a plethora of ideas.
These impossible ideas are thrown at you from every direction – on the tour they pass rooms with fantastical names that they just walk (or run) right on by. I absolutely loved the absurdity of some of these rooms. I won’t spoil them for you, read them for yourself with an absolute grin on your face.
The whole book is just fun. It makes sense why it has survived all these years: Dahl has the imagination of a child. As adults, our brains often strike down ideas that we believe to be impossible, but Roald Dahl embraces this and pushes his creativity to come up with such crazy notions. When paired with actual lessons and commentaries from why television rots children’s brains to how resisting temptation may lead to rewards, it becomes a book that children of every era can enjoy.
I’ll end this review with the best review of the book I saw. I think it sums up my experience well:
I responded to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it respected the fact that children can be adults.Tim Burton
Would I Recommend It?: To every child, whether they’re “grown-up” or not.