Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Library: Central Library (Brooklyn Public Library)
Genre: Youth Fiction

n the second and final installment of the Charlie Bucket series, Wonka and Charlie's family travel to space in the Glass Elevator from the Chocolate Factory. The idea is to fly high enough so that when they come down, they can have enough speed and force to get back into the ceiling of the factory. The elevator goes a little too high and end up in orbit. The story proceeds from there.

As someone who's seen the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 231983744388.443 times, it was pretty cool to read the way Dahl intended his characters to be portrayed. I read that he was so upset with the way they did the movie that he wouldn't allow them to make the sequel. I couldn't imagine this being a movie anyway. It was a lot less interesting than the previous part of the story. I also kept imagining how it would look with the characters from the movie using bad 1970s special effects.

I've gotta say though, I almost feel like all the Presidential scenes seemed like a stab at the US government. I don't get all into politics, but he did make a bit of a farce with the eager to kill Chief of the Army ("Come on Mr. P, let's have some really super-duper explosions!), the Chief Financial Adviser's non-sensical method of balancing the US government:
He stood proudly in the middle of the room with the enormous two-hundred-billion-dollar budget balanced beautifully on top of his bald head.

Right on down to the racially insensitive, incompetent, hot-headed President. He runs the country with his Nanny as Vice President and doesn't make any of his own decisions.

I also found the "asian" dialect to be a tad racist for a children's book ("Gleetings honorable Plesident, here is Assistant-Pleimer Chu-On-Dat speaking") Also:
"It is very difficult to phone people in China, Mr. President...the country is so full of Wings and Wongs, every time you wing you get the wong number"

It wasn't all that funny to me, as it was probably meant to be. But I suppose this was written in the 70s where there were different standards.

All in all, it was an okay book. It seemed to revolve around the least interesting characters (the Grandparents in the bed). I didn't care for them previously and don't care to know about them now. A bit of a let down after the exciting and imaginative Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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