Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory

INSIDE CHARLIE’S CHOCOLATE FACTORY 

BY LUCY MANGAN

Wonka book

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory remains one of our best-loved children’s books fifty years after its publication and this book is a glorious full colour treasure that every Charlie fan must own! Lifelong Dahl fanatic, Lucy Mangan, explores the book’s influence on readers, films, theatre, music and of course on chocolate. I loved how she calls it “a whipple-scrumptious fudgemallow delight to do” as that is exactly what it was to read. Especially on a cold, wet January duvet day!

The book opens with an exquisite foreword by Roald’s daughter Sophie Dahl. Her stories of her father feature fairies, bacon with marmalade, and the red tupperware box full of chocolate bars that would only be opened if she’d been good. Lovely memories.

“I am not overly fond of chocolate flavoured foods such as chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream. I prefer my chocolate straight.” (Roald Dahl)

Writing Charlie was initially a difficult process for Dahl, working on it during a tragic time for his family. But through early drafts and manuscripts published here we can see the enthralling storyteller and maverick emerge. Charlie has since become so popular that it has inspired everything from episodes of The Simpsons to Marilyn Manson music videos to Heston Blumenthals’ wacky food creations! It’s characters and catchphrases have permeated popular culture with spin-off merchandise including figurines, lunchboxes and those all important Wonka bars.

Wonka figurine

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory has of course also been made into two hugely successful films plus an opera, a play and a musical. This book contains particularly fascinating insights into the making of the original film starring Gene Wilder. One of my favourite anecdotes coming from an actor who describes not only the perils of the chocolate river but of being stuck inside a giant styrofoam blueberry whilst the rest of the cast and crew broke for lunch!

In other chapters we are introduced to Charlie books through the years. We also meet Dahl’s four different illustrator’s including his genius collaboration with Quentin Blake. Our love of chocolate is also explored and fans and critics alike present their for and against Charlie arguments.

All in all this book is 205 pages of utter pleasure and joyful, colourful silly happiness. I loved it as I’m sure will  all the Roald Dahl fans out there.

Charlie facts!

  1. Willy Wonka was originally named Mr Richie
  2. Roald Dahl co-invented a revolutionary valve to be used on children with brain injuries. It was highly successful and exported worldwide until superseeded by newer technology
  3. Roald disliked Gene Wilder’s portrayal of Willy Wonka. He had wanted Peter Sellers or Spike Milligan for the part
  4. Charlie still sells almost 500,000 copies a year worldwide
  5. Roald kept silver wrappings from his choccie bars which he moulded into a ball on his writing desk, adding to it right up to his death in 1990

SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 10/10

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