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Registered Members => Book Talk => Topic started by: Franzilla on August 14, 2014, 03:25 PM

Title: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Franzilla on August 14, 2014, 03:25 PM
Well, if you read the article you'll gather what they were thinking... but seriously how on earth did this get past all the gatekeepers?


http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-28703254


The fact they say it's intended for adult audiences makes it worse, to me. My mind is frankly boggled.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Artemesia on August 14, 2014, 03:28 PM
 :yoiks


I'm a little speechless...
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: carrots on August 14, 2014, 03:31 PM

 :spaz

Oh, Franzilla, this hurts my heart. And I agree with you entirely. How can this be for **adults**? Weird and creepy for kids, but downright perverse for adults.


Bummer is that I might have liked to get a special anniversary copy for my children but now I won't. Instead, I'd get a copy from a used bookstore.


Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Stephanie Shaw on August 14, 2014, 03:34 PM
Apparently, they were unencumbered by the thought process.


I honestly thought that it looks like a child beauty pageant ---- and I don't mean that in a flattering way.


And, while I'm at it:  does a title with the word 'chocolate' in it really need anything else?    :beating
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: H. Pinski on August 14, 2014, 03:37 PM
Whaaat?
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Franzilla on August 14, 2014, 03:42 PM
I actually checked to see whether it was April 1st once I saw the image. It just seems so, so wrong. I cannot understand how everyone signed off on this. And now of course I want to see the other classic cover images.


TARKA THE OTTER, for example, is a beautiful, sad book... *spoiler alert* so will it have a picture of a slain otter on the front?!


This is definitely one of those situations where you just slap your hand to your forehead in disbelief.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Jayca on August 14, 2014, 04:11 PM
Are you kidding me?

"We wanted something that spoke about the other qualities in the book," Penguin Press's Helen Conford told the Bookseller. "It's a children's story that also steps outside children's and people aren't used to seeing Dahl in that way."

How does the cover in any way convey the messages at the heart of this story?

Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Franzilla on August 14, 2014, 04:15 PM
Exactly. The other thing that I just don't get (and makes me wonder whether this is actually a publicity stunt at heart) is that they say the girl isn't supposed to be any of the characters in the book. So, erm, who is she then?
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: JFriday on August 14, 2014, 04:26 PM
Oh, my. It's awful. I can't imagine picking up a book that has a cover like that, and to have it be for Charlie and the Chocolate factory makes it just...beyond creepy.

I think someone should be seeking employment elsewhere.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: olmue on August 14, 2014, 06:35 PM
>>Apparently, they were unencumbered by the thought process.<<

So, so, so true. :(
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Pons on August 14, 2014, 06:48 PM
Thud. Just plain thud.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: rab on August 14, 2014, 07:26 PM
Ewww. I feel icky now that I've seen it.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: randi-revill on August 14, 2014, 08:26 PM
What has the world come to? I'm sure this cover went through dozens of meetings with big shots, artists, executives, etcetera. And not one person raised their hand to object to this ridiculousness?  :old
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: dinalapomy101 on August 15, 2014, 04:35 AM
I really don't get it. What other themes is a doll on a girl's lap supposed to convey? What am I missing???
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: JFriday on August 15, 2014, 05:59 AM
It wasn't a doll. That was a little girl.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Nanci on August 15, 2014, 06:23 AM
This has to be one of the strangest things I have ever seen, especially since I can't fathom
any relation of this cover to the book itself. Just TOO weird. And just wrong!
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: jayme-allen on August 15, 2014, 07:50 AM
Uhh...wow. I just had one of those "Is this real life?" moments.

Ditto what Nanci said.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Arona on August 15, 2014, 11:08 AM
To see the image alone, without connection to Chocolate Factory, was disturbing only in that I find the adulterization (that IS a word in my own mental Funk & Wagnall) of children in pageants/advertising/etc. disturbing.

But when I read the pub's words describing their reason for it (justifying it), they didn't make sense. Their words actually disturbed me more than the photo.

Can anyone say, "Let's stir the money pot?"
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Anne Marie on August 15, 2014, 11:18 AM
You know, when they first announced it, they did it (I think on Twitter) without the title on the book and asking people to guess what the book was; I knew immediately. 

I did assume there would be a cover for each child, a la People magazine.

I'm disturbed, too.  I'd have to reread the book to see if it makes sense to me.  It's not one of my faves so I have only read it a couple of times.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Arona on August 15, 2014, 11:37 AM
Anne Marie, you crack me up. It's not your favorite book, so you only read it a couple times. I can't struggle through most books that don't wrangle me in the first paragraph, and then keep me so tied up that I can barely breathe. (In other words, I jealous.)
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Dianna Winget on August 15, 2014, 12:29 PM
Very bizarre! I don't see what it has to do with the story at all.  :ranting: :mad
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Franzilla on August 15, 2014, 06:20 PM
You know, when they first announced it, they did it (I think on Twitter) without the title on the book and asking people to guess what the book was; I knew immediately. 




How did you guess?! Did they give you multiple choices or simply say, Guess which book out of all the billions of books out there this is?


I think it's the girl's expression that makes it particularly disturbing. To match a character in the book she'd have to look a bit more full of energy. But that's what gets me - this isn't supposed to represent a character? Then what does it represent exactly? If it represents 'the dark side' of Dahl's writing, then they're saying the image shows something dark - what exactly? That she's adulterized? (Thanks, Arona, good word!) But I don't think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory covers adulterization? (Thanks, again, Arona!)


Anyway, silly billies, those Penguin people. Well, the ones who said yes to that anyway, I'm sure the rest are all genius expert people!
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Anne Marie on August 15, 2014, 07:09 PM
It said guess which book out of all the billions of books out there this is.

Here's a good article from WaPo:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/what-divisive-charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory-cover-says-about-books-and-readers/2014/08/15/23163b8a-219a-11e4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Cathie on August 16, 2014, 08:33 AM
 "Ewwww" and "Gross". If they wanted to shock people into talking about it and misrepresent the subject of the book-- good job, but I'm not sure it would translate into sales. 
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: dinalapomy101 on August 16, 2014, 08:37 AM
Wait, so the blonde is a human, not a doll? And she is a girl sitting next to an adult? LOL! I can't even tell what it is.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: dewsanddamps on August 16, 2014, 08:46 AM
Oh. I dislike the cover because I fear the world might be changing. That's helpful to know.  :faint
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Franzilla on August 16, 2014, 04:07 PM
That's an interesting article, Anne Marie. I have to admit, I read it as a kid, recently re-read it with my six-year-old and just enjoyed it for being full of ridiculousness. Of course I realised the parents were 'spoiling' their kids (hate that word but you know what I mean, I hope) but I didn't get the impression that the children were having to behave like parents themselves. Some of Dahl's books really are dark, though, like MATILDA. That book makes me sad, angry and worried, all at once!
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: thunderingelephants on August 17, 2014, 04:01 AM
Two things that spring to mind on viewing that cover: 1) Dahl was a children's author, for the main part (I can only remember one of his adult-marketed books) and 2) I am sorry but I think the cover portrays a child from a beauty pageant and I find those completely wrong. That is a personal opinion.
Dahl brought out the impish, devious side of children and their tendencies to misbehave. That's what he played on.
The original illustrations of Quentin Blake are a far cry from the image of that book.
It just looks totally wrong.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Amanda Coppedge on August 17, 2014, 04:43 AM
Franzilla, as soon as I saw your title I knew what you were going to be talking about!

It makes sense to me if this is supposed to be Veruca Salt. (Like Anne Marie said, if they had multiple covers, one for each character.) The vacant, vapid mother also reminds me of Violet's (?) mother from the newer movie adaptation. But not supposed to represent any character ... ?
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Franzilla on August 17, 2014, 03:36 PM
Franzilla, as soon as I saw your title I knew what you were going to be talking about!



Ha ha, yes, I think it's obvious because it's such a common reaction to that cover!


Thunderingelephants, Dahl actually wrote a lot of adult books. Something I discovered as a child when I happened upon my parents' Dahl books. What a disappointment they were for me, expecting magical stories about children like the others!




Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: CarrieF on August 19, 2014, 01:00 PM
The subject line of this thread pretty much says it all.

The thing that gets me is that, even reading their explanation of what they were thinking (the bit about how Dahl's work explores the dark side of childhood) I STILL don't get it. What does the cover image have to do with that?
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Marissa Doyle on August 19, 2014, 01:43 PM
The thing that gets me is that, even reading their explanation of what they were thinking (the bit about how Dahl's work explores the dark side of childhood) I STILL don't get it. What does the cover image have to do with that?

This.  It's almost as if someone who'd never actually read the book but had read other people's blog posts about Dahl's "darkness" and drew their own conclusions about what that means chose the cover.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: dreamless on August 20, 2014, 07:11 AM
I may be the only person who likes the cover. I've been a huge fan of Dahl since I could read and the cover is creepy and completely out-there, just like his books. It shows perfectly the parental influence over these horrible kids. Though I would have loved to see a collection of different covers, featuring the other children, not just Veruca.  And hey... the cover definitely got people talking, so it's a marketing win.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Franzilla on August 20, 2014, 07:18 AM
I may be the only person who likes the cover. I've been a huge fan of Dahl since I could read and the cover is creepy and completely out-there, just like his books. It shows perfectly the parental influence over these horrible kids. Though I would have loved to see a collection of different covers, featuring the other children, not just Veruca.  And hey... the cover definitely got people talking, so it's a marketing win.


That's just what makes it weirder though, they say it is not Veruca or any other character.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: dreamless on August 20, 2014, 07:24 AM

That's just what makes it weirder though, they say it is not Veruca or any other character.

But anyone who read the book would just assume it's Veruca. That's who I thought it was immediately. I mean, even if it's Violet, it shows the influence of the parents over their horrid children.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Franzilla on August 20, 2014, 09:34 AM
But anyone who read the book would just assume it's Veruca. That's who I thought it was immediately. I mean, even if it's Violet, it shows the influence of the parents over their horrid children.


Yes, which is why it's weird to say it's not supposed to be any of the characters. I think the image is powerful in itself but if it's not supposed to be about little girls being made to grow up too fast, then I think it's a bad choice. Dahl's book isn't all about girls growing up too fast. If anything, Charlie is the character under the most pressure to behave like an adult, even more than his grandpa!


I'm not in denial about the dark side of his stories, nor why they wanted to show that on the cover, I get that logic. The logic I don't get is why they insist it isn't supposed to look like any character. They could have said, the girl and her mother represent the messed up relationships between parent and child, as described by Dahl in the story, or something along those lines. But instead they just mentioned his darker side and that it isn't supposed to represent a character. To me, that makes it sound as though they didn't really think it through.


I'm glad we have at least one person on the boards who likes it though!different opinions = good discussion!
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: Christine B. on August 30, 2014, 08:38 PM
I'm with Dreamless in that I sort of like the cover. I certainly see where the critics are coming from. It gives me a strong emotional reaction -- disgust and fascination; confusion; wanting to look and not look at the same time. And there's something powerful about that. There's something about that that feels true to Dahl.
Title: Re: What on earth were they thinking?!
Post by: thunderingelephants on September 01, 2014, 06:04 AM
I have to admit that I am reading Danny the Champion of the world and from Dahl's narration and Quentin Blake's illustrations I just can't envisage he would see that image of any character as the right one. His writing style just doesn't seem to project that image on the cover.