#61 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

One miraculous moment changes Charlie Bucket’s life forever.

A boy who only gets to eat cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner finds a Golden Ticket that will take him into Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory.

Joining him on the tour are four horrible blighters:

Augustus Gloop – a great big greedy nincompoop, Veruca Salt – a spoiled brat, Violet Beauregarde – a repulsive little gum-chewer and Mike Teavee – a TV addict.

With a chocolate river, crafty squirrels and mysterious Oompa Loompas, Mr Wonka’s chocolate factory is the strangest, most magnificent place Charlie has ever seen.

What other surprises are in store for the lucky ticket winners?

Pages | 180

Target Audience: Children

Read: 22nd August

I have of course, read this book before. I remember reading it or being read it when I was a child, but I am enjoying this trip down memory lane and revisiting books I loved as a kid. I am sure there is much that I have forgotten and much the 2 films changed from the original story.

This was very easy to read, and it cheered me up reading it. I’m a little isolated at the moment – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but it does open me up to being, a little more vulnerable with my mental health.

I always marvel at Dahl’s character choices and how they perfectly fit to his story. It is easy to route for Charlie Bucket because he has the least in life and the most to gain from the experience. It is easy to see his childlike wonder is real and it is easy to understand the lonely child from a poor family.

I sometimes see the other four children; Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee, as manifestations of the seven deadly sins – or at least part of them. It is easy to see the unpleasantness in the characters, but it is far harder to see the moral story hidden within the characters and the path to blame and forgiveness. That’s just my interpretation, or how I see things at least.

I much prefer the characters in the book to how they were represented in film. In the version with Gene Wilder, I was terrified of him as a young child and couldn’t believe he could be so mean – because he was mean, especially when he shouted at Charlie. In the reboot with Johnny Depp, I couldn’t understand why they’d made Willy Wonka appear as slightly creepy, unhinged and really someone you didn’t want your children to be around.

There is a much better balance between the characters in the book and everything just seems brighter.

This was very easy to visualise. I easily remembered the images I’d conjured as a kid and just worked on improving those.

It’s an odd sort of day and the perfect time to read such an oddly magical book. I loved revisiting this book as an adult and it brought me a great deal of joy that I desperately needed. I have concluded that the book is far better than either film adaptations of it and I would rather pretend that neither exist if I’m honest! I suppose this is one of Dahl’s longer books, but it is still as imaginative and magical as you would expect. This is also, perhaps, Dahl’s most famous book, so really, if you haven’t read it – what are you doing with your life?

It’s clear to say that I enjoyed this. What a hoot! There were so many parts that I’d forgotten – especially how long the poems are! I greatly appreciated getting to know Willy Wonka again. The way Dahl has written him doesn’t compare to his on-screen adaptation. In this case, the book will always be better than the film. I loved this.

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