Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlTonight I just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate factory with my son. This is the first chapter book Ive read all the way through with him. And it was a ton of fun.
First off, Ill admit that I love the movie. I grew up with it. (Im talking about the Gene Wilder version, of course.)Ill even admit to liking the movie better than the book. Which is something that doesnt happen very often with me.
That said, the book is really, really good. It held my four-year olds attention. Its silly, and its fun.
And its DARK.
For those of you who havent read the book, let me underline this fact for you. Dahl takes pains to really detail the fact that Charlie and his family arent just hungry and poor. Theyre destitute. Charlie sleeps on a mattress on the floor. In the winter they are cold, and theyre starving to death.
And if you think Im exaggerating on that last point, Im not. One of the chapters is titled: The Family Begins to Starve.
But you know what? I like this book better because of that. Its not sanitized pablum written by committee to be inoffensive. Its the story of a little boy who is in a fucking awful situation, but he is still good and kind and polite and then something really nice happens to him.
Thats a trope I can get behind.
Its it a good book to read with your kids? Absolutely.
That said, allow me to tangent off and share my thoughts as a total bastard:
If Willie Wonka actually hired workers and paid them a living wage, maybe Charlie Bucket wouldnt be starving to death in the first place.
Follow me here. Wonka is effectively running a company where everyone is paid in scrip. The Oompa Loompas are paid, quite literally, in beans. Beans that Im guessing he has the Oompa Loompas themselves growing in some huge underground cavern.
Lets not even get into the ethical tarpit of the fact that Wonka uproots an entire indigenous culture and enslaves them. Lets just look at this from a raw numbers point of view. Pure economics.
The Oompa Loompas work in the factory. They are not paid. They never leave the factory. That means they dont pay rent. They dont buy groceries. They dont go to the movies, or take taxis ,or buy clothes.
But *everyone* buys Wonkas chocolate.
That means that money goes into the factory, but it doesnt come back out into the town.
As a result, the local economy is crap. And its because of this that Charlies dad cant get a decent job. Whats more, its because of this that his dad *loses* his shitty job, and his family is starving to death.
Willie Wonka isnt a childlike magic maker. Hes a billionaire corporate fuckwit. Hes the candy equivalent of Monsanto. Theres no government oversight there. Osha would never have approved that bullshit boiled sweet boat and chocolate river. No. Dude is untouchable.
And dont tell me he isnt. That shit that goes on with the other kids? Nobody even *thinks* of suing him. None of the parents even *hint* at it. He probably owns half the judges in the state, and a handful of senators, too.
Hes a fucking supervillian. And I would paid serious money to see a story where Batman kicks his ass.
In closing, let me share something that Oot said while I was reading him this book:
Dad, Willie Wonka is just a regular human, but he *is* a little bit of a wizard like you.
Read To Them
Front cover of an American first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an award-winning children's fantasy novel of twenty-eight chapters by the British author Roald Dahl. It was first published in the United States in and first published in the United Kingdom in The novel's protagonist is a very poor boy named Charlie Bucket. Due to his family's extreme poverty, he rarely gets to eat chocolate but he is fascinated by the chocolate factory in his town, owned by the eccentric and mysterious Willy Wonka. No visitors have been inside Willy Wonka's chocolate factory for years. Through amazing good luck, Charlie Bucket finds the last Golden Ticket.
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