I’ve been a fan of Roald Dahl ever since I came across his book, James and the Giant Peach. But I have never really read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory until just recently when someone gave me a copy. I have been curious about this book and I have put-off watching the movie to read it. So the moment I got hold of the book, I excitedly thumbed through the pages and read it all at once.
At the start of the book, we get a glimpse of Charlie Bucket and his family’s shabby living condition. Yet, despite not having enough meals every day, they are a well-knit and loving family. Charlie Bucket, the child protagonist, is the central joy of the whole family and from him, the love radiates through all the members of the family.
If there is something that is too harsh in this book, it will be the fact that Charlie and his family live beside the Chocolate Factory of the eccentric Mr. Willy Wonka.
Imagine being a child and having the love for chocolates, living beside a chocolate factory, inhaling the sweet smell that drifted through the air yet being able to eat only ONE chocolate every year. That is just too much for a child but the sweet little Charlie is just contented and happy smelling the sweet smell of chocolates and nibbling his one chocolate every year, little by little so it will last longer.
The excitement came when one day, a few days before Charlie’s birthday, Mr. Willy Wonka announced that he will welcome inside his factory, five children who will find the five the golden tickets he has hidden in five chocolate bars.
Now, it will be good to know that Mr. Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory has never been opened to the public eye for years. So nobody really gets to see what’s inside. That really excites everyone even adults and as the golden tickets were found one by one, the lucky winners have become instant celebrities even appearing on the television and the newspaper.
When all the four chocolates were found we can be sure to sympathize and cheer for Charlie as he hoped to find the last golden ticket. But the only chocolate bar his family could ever give him, a gift for his birthday contained no golden ticket.
Quite a heartbreaking disappointment it is, but another hope has come from Charlie’s Grandpa Joe when he gave Charlie a single sixpence, the only money he had, to buy himself a chocolate in the hope of finding the golden ticket.
Alas! There’s still no golden ticket inside Charlie’s chocolate bar, and it sure could make us a little bitter and sad for little Charlie.
Eventually, just before the day of the visit to the Chocolate Factory, Charlie found a fifty pence! Hungry and cold, Charlie decided to buy himself a chocolate bar which he wolfed down in seconds. And because he is still hungry, he bought another chocolate bar, keeping in mind to give the rest of the money for food for his family.
But lo, and behold! Inside his chocolate bar, he found a shiny golden ticket! What luck! Indeed, Charlie became the fifth and last kid to visit the Chocolate Factory! One can’t help but root for him after all the disappointments he’d been through.
It is interesting to note though, that the other four children who found the golden tickets were described to be children with rather unpleasant attributes.
Augustus Gloop is a gluttonous boy who just eats all day. He has gotten enormously and dangerously fat from eating too much.
Veruca Salt is a spoiled little girl who is given anything that she asks for by her rich parents. She could throw a series of violent tantrums if she can’t get what she wants.
Violet Beauregarde is a girl who chews gum all day and has the nasty habit of sticking the gum she chewed on the elevator buttons. Like, really, that is nasty.
And Mike Teavee is a boy who loved television and pistols and just can’t stop watching shows of gangsters and shooting. You can’t interrupt him when he’s watching or he will be extremely annoyed.
The fun started when the children, together with their parents, get inside the factory, see what’s inside and learn the secrets of the Chocolate Factory. And as if by dedication to the duty of justice, one by one the bad characters encountered mishaps and misadventures. The harshness of it though is wittingly masked with whimsical prose and playful rhymes. One could not help but laugh at the rather fitting punishments for the bad children complete with comical songs on the morals imparted with each character’s fall.
I maybe something to note though that Charlie seems to be just a passive audience the moment he went with the four kids inside the chocolate factory. Nonetheless, it implies Charlie being respectful and obedient to the rules Mr. Willy Wonka set. Though him winning, in the end, looks simply just for lack of choice and the prize a handout. Still, one could not grudge a sweet little boy like Charlie and can be content to be happy, for Charlie.
I find the book as sweet as the dear Charlie Bucket. The morality issues tackled all-throughout the book makes it classic yet fitting in the modern times. The use of puns and nonsensical words, which is a trademark of Roald Dahl, seamlessly added fun and witty humor all-throughout the book.
Nonetheless, I highly recommend the book not only for the little ones but for adults as well who need a good book to lighten their day.