Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book Review: Pinocchio

Growing up I read a lot of books, through elementary and junior high and even into high school I averaged four to five books a week, every week without fail.

As I've always been a fan of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction, I made my way through a lot of children's fables and fairy tales, which are filled with some of the most awful things you can imagine and then tend to aim them at kids (Cooked in an oven, eyes pecked out by birds, or bed-time forever, anyone?)

Like most people however, I've read a lot of what you'd expect and not a lot of what you might assume - like Carlo Collodi's The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883).  I saw the movie as a child, enjoyed the magical transformations, the epic adventure and even singing along with "When You Wish Upon a Star", but had never actually read the original source material.

So a couple weeks ago I picked up the Gris Grimly illustrated version (which is pretty darn amazing), and set down to learn about this little wooden boy.

The book is a really quick read (less than a day for me and largely I'm talking about coffee breaks, my lunch hour and the bus trips to and from work.  The story is a delight to read, although may work better chapter-by-chapter over a series of readings, as much of the narrative is repetitive (Pinocchio is willful, told to think about what he is doing, acts without thinking, and is punished), and there are some very sudden and violent acts portrayed throughout the story as well (let's just say things don't fare very well for the cricket...).

In the end, the original Pinocchio is a pretty fun read, the boy is likable and the semi-self awareness of all puppets in the story is more than a little thought provoking.

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