Friday

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi - Book Review

I love fairy tales, collect them in fact, but Pinocchio had never piqued my interest. When Library Thing offered a new translation with a forward by Umberto Eco, I bit. Wasn’t it time I read this classic?

Pinocchio begins his journey as chunk of wood with a psyche. He progresses through the stages of development most soul-filled beings progress and encounters the same obstacles. Though its been analyzed by varying angles, I felt Pinocchio was, as Eco also saw, a bildungsroman, following Pinocchio's growth from his infantile form (wood) to his matured state (boy).

The story itself is a glimpse at the ferocious world of childhood where everything is tempting and dangerous. It uses elements of fantasy in an allegorical manner, jumping from extremes of preachiness to ridiculousness. It warns against our darkest nature and praises kind spirit.

Reading Pinocchio wasn’t shocking or new, I’ve read my share of violent children’s tales and was certainly familiar with the plot, but it was less than I imagined it to be considering its literary standing. I pulled another translation from the shelf to compare and I found little difference in the erratic and overly incompatible story. Others have said this might be a result of its originally having been a serialized tale; I felt it was simply a poorly written jumble.

I’m glad that I can add Pinocchio to my have-read list, but I don’t think it’s a fairy tale I’ll be returning to again and again.

If I rated the classics, I'd give it 3 stars only in deference to its status.

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