Book Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

wonka “Whipped cream isn't whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn't poached eggs unless it's been stolen in the dead of the night.”

—Mr. Willy Wonka

If you haven’t read Roald Dahl’s famous book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you are missing out on a piece of your childhood. I laughed out loud when I read Wonka’s insults and puns. Everyone knows the story of Charlie Bucket, but experiencing Dahl’s wonderful characters in the book is an adventure in and of itself.

Each character is unique and extreme.

Naturally, Wonka was my favorite character. The best quote in the book is when the children and parents are passing different doors. They pass one that said, “Storeroom Number 77—All the Beans, Cacao Beans, Coffee Beans, Jelly Beans, and Has Beans.”

Has beans?” cried Violet Beauregarde.

“You’re one yourself!” said Mr. Wonka.

Wonka taunts Mike Teavee throughout the book, and it never gets old.

“If you think gum is so disgusting,” said Mike Teavee, “then why do you make it in your factory?”

“I do wish you wouldn’t mumble,” said Mr. Wonka. “I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”

I mean, it’s just constantly funny.

“But what does a snozzberry taste like?” Mike asked.

“You’re mumbling again,” said Mr. Wonka. “Speak louder next time.”

Seriously.

“That isn’t exactly how it works,” Mike Teavee said.

“I am a little deaf in my left ear,” Mr. Wonka said. “You must forgive me if I don’t hear everything you say.”

“I said, that isn’t exactly how it works!” shouted Mike Teavee.

“You’re a nice boy,” Mr. Wonka said, “but you talk too much.”

Dahl had once said, “I find that the only way to make my characters really interesting to children is to exaggerate all their good or bad qualities, and so if a person is nasty or bad or cruel, you make them very nasty, very bad, very cruel.”

Now, Wonka wasn’t exactly cruel; he was an eccentric. But he definitely did not put up with anyone’s garbage.

“Veruca, darling,” said Mrs. Salt, “pay no attention to Mr. Wonka! He’s lying to you!”

“My dear old fish,” said Mr. Wonka, “go and boil your head!”

And, just for good measure, one last Wonka insult:

“My dear Veruca! How do you do? What a pleasure this is! You do have an interesting name, don't you? I always thought that a veruca was a sort of wart that you got on the sole of your foot! But I must be wrong, musn't I?”

I give Dahl’s book 5 stars for creative characters.