by Roald Dahl
1964 - Alfred A. Knopf
My book club this month is reading "banned books". We've all chosen different books that were either banned or challenged at a library somewhere and we're going to report back on why the books were banned or challenged and what we thought. I've chosen the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I had to do a little digging, but I discovered that the original version featured Oompa-Loompas that were fashioned after African pygmies. Roald Dahl defended this by saying "I created a group of little fantasy creatures.... I saw them as charming creatures, whereas the white kids in the books were... most unpleasant. It didn't occur to me that my depiction of the Oompa-Loompas was racist, but it did occur to the NAACP and others.... After listening to the criticisms, I found myself sympathizing with them, which is why I revised the book" (Dahl in West, 1988).
The revised version is the version I read with the Oompa-Loompas having rosy cheeks and curly brown hair and pretty much being miniature men. The book is quite sugary, not unlike the two movies made in the past. The descriptions of the different rooms and treats in the factory make it fun to follow, and even though I knew the story and how each of the kids would end up, still had fun reading the adventure and wishing I had some of the fabulous candy. It's a classic treat, that's truly innocent and fun.