I’ve been getting a little sick of reading adult books lately, especially since so many of them are filled with sorrow, depression and a myriad of other downer qualities. To remedy this sickness, I took up reading an old children’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I know I’m not a kid anymore, but it was so refreshing to transport myself into the world of Willy Wonka with its little Oompa Loompas and its flowing chocolate rivers.
Not only did I work up an appetite for sweets, I felt inspired by Dahl’s highly original story. Reading books like this makes me want to find my own originality and unique voice as I pursue a writing career.
The story is brilliant in its childish simplicity. If you’ve never read it before or seen the film (preferably the 1971 version with Gene Wilder) you must! It’s a classic! And you have to introduce your children to it as well!
I love that there is a darkness beneath the story. As a few children win the special golden ticket to tour the Wonka factory, we come to find that all of them (except for the protagonist, Charlie) are bratty, naughty children who tend to get what they want. This causes each of them to undergo quite sadistic punishment for their behaviors (“blueberry” anyone?). It has a good lesson in the end, as we find out why Willy Wonka is holding this tour for the kids in the first place.
I advise other adults like me who are sick of the same-old-same-old, overly sentimental, brutal, crude adult books to take a step back in time and reread this classic, or any classic children’s book for that matter. It enabled me to smile and feel that sense of innocence and hope that children’s lives are so full of. For just a nostalgic moment, I forgot the world’s harshness and I reveled in my forgetting.
If only we could remain forever innocent and young…