The Adventures of Pinocchio: Classics Challenge #3

This read was full of surprises, much more than the previous reads. I guess it shows how Disney embeds their versions in the collective memory and it stays there with little chance of changing. Pinocchio is perhaps one of the most famous cautionary tales but the story is much darker than I expected.

So, here are my top shockers (and plot spoilers by the way) of this absolutely wonderful story:

Geppetto is a nasty, nasty man. Yes, he is rude and violent to the point of getting involved in full blow fights. ‘…Geppetto lost his head with rage and threw himself upon the carpenter. Then and there they gave each other a sound thrashing.’ Please tell me I am not alone in remembering him as a sweet old man.

We all love the Taking Cricket didn’t we? Well, brace yourself for my jaw-dropping moment of the story. We know that Pinocchio is full of mischief, so the little Cricket decides to give him a bit of advise:

‘Woe to boys who refuse to obey their parents and run away from home! They will never be happy in this world, and when they are older they will be very sorry for it.’ (…) ‘Careful, ugly Cricket! If you make me angry you’ll be sorry!’ The Cricket tells him that he is already sorry for him because he is a marionette and that is much worse than having a wooden head. After hearing this ‘Pinocchio jumped in a fury, took a hammer from the bench, and threw it with all his strength at the Talking Cricket. (…) ‘cri-cri-cri’ the poor Cricket fell from the wall, dead! No remorse added to the scene.

Most famous fact of the story is that Pinocchio’s nose grows when he lies. I did not know this happens when the Fairy throws that spell on him: ‘…am laughing at your lies . ‘How do you know I’m lying?’ ‘Lies, my boy,
are known in a moment. There are two kinds of lies, lies with short legs and lies with long noses. Yours, just now, happen to have long noses.’
Parenting owe so much to this line!

The last revelation for me is the slightly disturbing Land of Toys. A place that promises children endless fun, no rules, no discipline and absolute freedom to do whatever they want. But this sinister place slowly transform the children into donkeys to be sold as well, slaves, really. Bit harsh.

Reading The Adventures of Pinnocchio was an unforgettable experience. I did not expect it to be so ‘grown up’ if that’s the right word. Pinnocchio has the behavior and attitude that every parent dreads: he is rude, lazy a liar, and he constantly runs away. His adventures take him to far away places and his actions have consequences for those who care for him. The marionette has to let down Geppeto, the Fairy and his friends in order to find the right path in life, and it makes a lot of sense to do it this way when thinking of a young reader.

It’s a great read and a cautionary tale that I cannot wait to read to my daughter, perhaps toning down the animal cruelty towards crickets.

To read more about the Classic’s Reading Challenge click here

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The War of the Worlds: Classics Challenge #1

Following my post on reading obvious classics (that you honestly haven’t read) I started with H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. If you are on Amazon Prime, head to your Prime Reading and it’s available to download to your Kindle for free.

This little novel is truly mind blowing. Just imagine, H.G. Wells wrote The War of the Worlds in 1897 and has never been out of print. What I found absolutely remarkable is that in the middle of the conservative Victorian era, Mr Wells is able to narrate the landing of these terrible and violent Martians that will cause mayhem in the sleepy outskirts of London. 

The most fascinating thing about reading The War of the Worlds is that it is very easy to forget this was written almost century before the moon landing. Wells has an extraordinary ability to recreate the tension and panic of the English people as they realise the terrible threat they are under. The plot gets darker and darker, and there are very explicit violent scenes as the Martian fighting-machine leaves its path of death and destruction. 

An extraordinary read that includes the unforgettable Martian red weed. Now, that will stick with you. Literally. 

Obvious classics you’ve never read

Who doesn’t love a reading challenge? You may have chosen the traditional Goodreads one or the incredibly clever Pop Sugar Challenge. I think I have both on my radar but browsing on my Amazon Prime Reading I saw an interesting selection of classics. At first instance I thought why bother if I know these stories. But do I? This gave me the idea to spend the first few months of the year reading the obvious classics I’ve never read. Here is my list so far:

Alice in Wonderland Amazon Classics

The War of the Worlds – H.G Wells

Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

The Adventures of Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain

The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum

Journey to the Centre of the Earth – Julius Verne

The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling

The Arabian Nights – Andrew Lang

I will write short reviews of each one of these titles, but if you think I’m missing a really obvious jewel, please get in touch and I’d be happy to add it to the reading list.

Till later!