Lis's Reviews > Pinocchio

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
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's review
Apr 14, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012-reads
Read in April, 2012

I expected a darker story than Disney presented and in some ways it was, but this is still clearly a book aimed at children. Pinocchio gets into a series of misadventures caused by his misbehavior. He never truly has bad intentions. He's just lazy and wants to do what he wants to do. He's also gullible and falls for the "get rich quick without work" type of schemes. He doesn't listen to advice he doesn't like. He turns his nose up at things offered to him because he wants better. But he is always repentant in the end and he dearly loves his family, and is repeatedly forgiven.

This book ultimately is trying to teach children that hard work is necessary and noble, and any short cut, work around, or avoidance will be heavily penalized by life. It also promises that hard work will be greatly rewarded.

I understand children's books often try to teach a moral, but it does trouble me that the book's absolute aim is to indoctrinate children. Yes, beggars can't be choosers, and yes, if you don't work then you can't act like you "deserve" to eat. And yes, you should care for others, and do good deeds. And obviously I am all for schools and books. However, let's not completely discount the positive qualities of leisure and label all desire for it as evil. Let's not act like the one day you cut school defines you more than the other school days when you did go. It is not always true that small mistakes lead to great tragedies, or that lifelong hard work will be lavishly rewarded. It is an attempt to use fear and promises to get the action you want out of a child. And it uses guilt--"those who love you are suffering because of how bad you are."

And what should be your ultimate goal? To be just like everyone else.

Really? He was created a puppet and as a puppet, he can run and swim, and yes even kick, way better than other boys. He tries to be good because he wants to make those that love him proud and happy, but that ultimate reward he holds out for: to be a boy. To give up what makes him unique. As if a successful life means you'll do as you're told and not stand out by being any different.

I can't help but feel like I want to smack Pinocchio in the back of the head and say, "Stop being such a dumbass, Pinocchio. But really, you're alright just the way you are."

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