Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of those books in the English dominated world that you've either read it as a child or you saw a film version. Re-reading it for my university course I was struck by how, despite the simplistic prose I could still see and capture the spirit of what Roald Dahl created. As a result I think I could add this to a list of the modern fairy tales for the 20th Century and beyond. Think about it: it's a rags-to-riches story aimed at children where an impoverished child finds the
golden ticket and goes to
a sort of wonderland
a chocolate factory which he becomes
I doubt anyone needs me to tell them the plot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. To be honest if you're in a first world country and have no idea about the contents of this book then I don't think I should be the one providing you with the summary. Most people can tell you roughly what it is about. The same stands for the premise of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan.
What I do want to bring up is the interesting way in which Roald Dahl creates his child characters as symbolic representatives of the problems with children. For instance you have Veruca who represents snobbery and being spoiled, Violet who as a gum chewer represents ambition and unwillingness to listen to others, Mike who represents addiction to television and as a result addiction in general and finally Augustus who represents greed. All of these problems curiously are shown as being due to poor parenting. Also further what I always liked in the book and films was how Willy Wonka put temptations in his factory to test the children's true motives. I don't know whether I can truly find something in the book that is incredibly deep because in knowing the story very much inside out I find it harder to step back and look at the issues within it. It just reads as a real enchanting modern fairytale.
I fully recommend this as a children's book and one which, yes, adults can read too if they want. You won't find the depth of some young adult stories but you will find an enchanting and moving story.