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Saturday, September 24, 2011


by Roald Dahl, YR, 1988, 240p, rating=4

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, Mrs. ("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. (Goodreads)

It's hard not to love a little girl who is bright, a lover of books, and misunderstood.   This is Matilda.  A four year old that has parents who are content to live ignorantly and selfishly.  Instead of basking in praises and encouragements for their daughter's brightness, they dismiss her.  So this leaves Matilda to her own devices to advocate for her well being.  Her revengeful antics of course were childish because she is a child.  Not a good role model in that sense on how to solve problems but the pranks were honest pursuits to the situation. 

The parents weren't the only antagonists in this book.  The evil Mrs. Trunchbull was the principal from hell!  A character of exaggerated meanness to get the reader riled up.  I certainly was anxious to find out how Matilda and friends would get the best of her! 

Of course, Matilda did have some allies.  Her classmates warmed up to her and of course their teacher Miss Honey took an interest in Matilda.  Consequently in Miss Honey, Matilda found the bond that she should have gotten from her parents.  A great sweetness to the many bitter moments.

There are mean people in this world, no doubt about it.  And what was admirable about Matilda was that she wasn't going to be idle to the abuse.  She fought the best she could with the resources she had in order to prevail.  In the end, we learn that there is power in being smart and precocious.


  1. I'm sure this is a great book, but I've never read it. However, I've watched the movie so many times with my kids when they were little, that it is still regularly quoted in my home (my kids are in their 20s). It was definitely a favorite...

  2. Annette, I vaguely remember the movie ..I have terrible memory!!


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