Book #79: Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she’s knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she’s a super-nerd and the teacher’s pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda’s world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there’s the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Miss (“The”) Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.

She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.

The last time I remember reading a Roald Dahl book was back in elementary school. I was reading, I believe, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I was having a horrible headache. I’ll be honest, at that moment I was turned off to Dahl. Just in reading him. Not in watching the movie adaptations.

My first experience with Matilda was the movie. Who doesn’t love a precoscious little girl who is a booknerd and can do amazing things with her mind? Well, I definitely loved her. Anyways, it wasn’t until recently that I decided to read the book as well as reintroduce myself to Roald Dahl.

For fans of the movie, you will definitely see that the adaptation is very close to the book. There were some differences where the characters are in the scenes that are only told in the book, but that doesn’t bother me either way.

I do wish the book was a little longer, but for a children’s book, it was awesome. It is definitely a book that every booknerd needs to be introduced to and maybe a book for the child who isn’t much of a reader (like my Bug, I think I want to have him read this book). All in all, I recommend.

Final Rating: 4/5

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