Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Published: May 1st 1996
Goodreads badgePublisher: Puffin
Pages: 272
Format: Book
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy/Fiction
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

The old wood-carver Geppetto decides to make a wonderful puppet which can dance and turn somersaults, but by chance he chooses an unusual piece of wood — and the finished puppet can talk and misbehave like the liveliest child. But Pinocchio is brave and inquisitive as well as naughty, and after some hair-raising adventures, he earns his heart’s desire.

Rule one: Never judge a book by its movie; especially if it was turned into one by Disney.

There is nothing adorable and heartfelt about Pinocchio in this book, you spend a lot of the time being annoyed at him for being an insolent little cow, and he certainly gets what he deserves. In the beginning Pinocchio is very well knowledge for someone who has never been to school, seen the world, and is only a day old; yet he uses this knowledge well in his circumstances. As the book goes on he gets gradually more tolerable in nature but it does take awhile. He does a lot of complaining and whinging which gets old, and there are quite a few moments where he recaps his adventures in full detail, right down to the conversations. I can’t say I have ever seen that before, but if we look at him as a child then I supposes he must fill in his whole story to the person, it is through his dialogue after all.

Each chapter gives you a couple of lines summary, which personally I think is unfair. With a story like Pinocchio where chapters can end on cliff hangers and in the middle of a scene, I think having the conclusion told to you before you even begin is a bit pointless. Where is the surprise that he runs into Assassins if we knew they were coming?

There is a morbid nature to a lot of events in this novel, nothing too extreme but it is very blunt. I think the fact the Pinocchio is a puppet is supposed to take away the shock of what happens to him and what he does, but the intent and the actual actions are certainly violent. There are multiple cruelties done to him and others, and his life is threatened in serious ways as well. While Collodi is not detailed in what he writes, he doesn’t hide anything either.

The writing appears to direct the story towards a younger reader, especially with the constant rehashing about good behaviour in young boys and the importance of going to school. There is a sense Collodi is talking to the readers as an oral tale rather than one written, but despite the tone, he does not talk down to the readers either. Collodi follows the story and excludes the unimportant events in the narrative. There are big time jumps varying from a day to a year with only a sentence explaining time has changed. And I am quite convinced that the existence, non existence and size of Pinocchio’s ears changes as the story deems fit.

Since we can’t ignore it, I will say that this book takes things a lot further than the film, a bit darker but still along the same lines. There are familiar faces and scenarios, but there are some vast differences that change the tone completely through quite a lot of the book. You do not always feel a lot of sympathy for Pinocchio in this I must say. You start off on the wrong foot with him when he is made, and even though you see him struggle you get more annoyed each time he fails.

The book reads very much like a succession of moral tale after moral tale, the exception being Pinocchio is so misguided and distracted he keeps messing up and never learning. There are moments where you get tired of his inability to stay on track but I suppose it teaches the lesson and shows you may not get the right way the first go but don’t give up, all those lessons for the children reading.

Overall it was a good book and you do see him change and become a better person, but I think all the times he fails makes this seem less real. You are supposed to see how he has grown but I don’t think it has been written in the correct way that makes you actually believe it. Because Collodi brushes over a lot and writes in simple terms it seems like a shallow remorse in my eyes but I see that it is supposed to have been the major turning point considering where we came from.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy
    Feb 07, 2013 @ 13:37:48

    Disney managed to take the key moments from the book, but then they stripped it back and added in the cute and fun element to bring back its substance. Though I have learned as I read books that were made into Disney films not to expect similarities, you really need to enjoy them separately.

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  2. Allyce
    Feb 06, 2013 @ 23:22:29

    I feel almost compelled now to read the original f my favourite Disney film, something tells me that like your review, all will not be so happily ever after.

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