Feeling like I’m from another planet is something I’ve experienced repeatedly ever since I was a kid. Especially when I see people upset about something and I can’t understand what it is they’re upset about. I’ll spend more time than I probably should analyzing whatever it is to try and figure out what the issue is and I always end up confused.
Take, for example, the reaction to a new cover for Roald Dahl’s classic kid’s book Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Penguin Books is re-releasing the title as part of their Penguin Modern Classics range of books aimed at adults — it being one of the first kids books to be released in that line — and as such they came up with a new cover that they felt “highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life”.
It didn’t go over well with fans of the book. On Penguin’s Facebook page the reaction was mostly negative with several folks saying they won’t be buying it. So what has everyone’s panties in a bunch? Here’s the cover:
So, yeah, it’s pretty creepy looking and I’m not entirely sure how it represents what the book is about, but I’m not sure it deserves comments like this:
I’m not sure why adults need a different cover anyway, but who was it who decided that “adult” meant “inappropriately sexualized”?
Inappropriately sexualized? Really? The kid looks a little China doll zombie-ish, but I don’t see anything particularly sexualized about it. OK, there’s a bit of a JonBenét Ramsey vibe to her, I’ll give you that.
OMG It looks like a cover of Lolita, and it’s the cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory??NONONONONO
Again, not seeing it. If anything it looks like a badly cropped shot of a couple of mannequins from a 1950’s J.C. Penney sale ad.
The inescapable, sexualised, subtext of this cover really does need to be reconsidered by the publishers. I struggle to understand how the executive decision was reached to choose this image. Bad mistake Penguin.
Again with claims that it’s sexualized. Is it the hair? The feather boa? What is it that’s saying SEX to these people?
This looks more like a cover for Valley of the Dahls.
OK, that one was funny.
Clearly a lot of people are seeing something in this cover that I am not. As someone who literally does judge books by their covers I completely agree that it’s a bad choice, but mainly because it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story. It turns out, according to the BBC, there’s a good reason for that:
The image is taken from a French magazine shoot by the photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, for a 2008 fashion article entitled Mommie Dearest.
Yeah, I can see that. It definitely looks like something from Mommie Dearest, which is a completely different sort of story than Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.
So I’m left to ponder: Is there something wrong with me that I’m not outraged by this supposedly hyper-sexualized image of a zombie girl?
Creeped out a bit? Sure. She’s got a death stare on her that’d fit in any horror movie. Not seeing the “sexy” in it though.