Genre: Middle Grade | Fiction
Star Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: 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.
Despite being a Roald Dahl fan for years, I had never actually read Matilda (or seen the movie, FWIW). I thoroughly enjoyed this charming little book, filled with all the things I love about Roald Dahl including his dry humor (sometimes bordering and sometimes deeply falling into the dark side of humor), his characters, and his language crafting. I was looking for something fun and a bit cheeky, that was a shorter read after some of the longer and very intense historical fiction I’ve been reading lately and this one was all that.
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the talented Kate Winslett, who fully does justice to all the voices, and would highly recommend the audio version. I probably was a lot more like Matilda as a kid than I would care to admit (I did walk myself to the library that was a few blocks away and spent a lot of summer days reading by myself), but Matilda is much wiser beyond her years than I ever was. One of my favorite quotes of all times appears in this book: “The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. …
If you haven’t read this story, I’d recommend it as a fun visit to a magical world with amazing people including a special little girl, and if you have a special little girl to share it with, even better.