Book Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

I liked the story. But I’m not sure how to classify it. Can you call it a novella?

The plot, basically

Matilda is a very, very intelligent kid. She is just 4 or 5 years old, but she already has a very advanced mind. She loves reading books and seems to be a math genius. Unfortunately, she has a very mean and problematic family. Her parents hate her, and they neglect her all the time.

She goes to school and meets the terrifying Miss Trunchbull. Miss Trunchbull runs the whole school, and she is feared by everybody, even by Matilda’s teacher Miss Honey.

Matilda hates Miss Trunchbull, and so does Miss Honey. Matilda discovers that she has the power to move objects with her mind. She uses this power to scare Miss Trunch bull away.

It turns out that Miss Trunchbull is actually Miss Honey’s aunt. She took care of Miss Honey when she was still little, after her mommy died. Miss Trunchbull is very abusive towards her, and she became even more atrocious when Miss Honey’s father died.

Matilda uses her amazing power against Miss Trunchbull. She fools her into thinking that Miss Honey’s late father has come to haunt her for what she has done.

Personal thoughts

I love the story because it’s very simple. Well, it *is* a children’s story, after all. But it’s still intelligent and delightful. It critiques our society’s tendency to watch too much TV. I love how Matilda is very bright and how she loves books. It’s amazing how, at the age of four, she can already read Dickens, Austen, and the others.

Of course, I like Miss Honey, and of course, I don’t like Matilda’s parents. But I wondered, at the end of the book, as Matilda’s family was packing up to catch their flight, how it is possible for them to hate her so much, or be totally indifferent about her. Maybe she was not really their child? They treat Matilda’s brother very diffirently.

It’s obvious that the author is a fan of C. S. Lewis. Matilda’s last name is Wormwood. It’s the name of the apprentice demon in Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. Is it true, though, that there are no funny bits in Lewis’s fiction?

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Date Read: September 4 – 9, 2011


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