Roald Dahl is a very well known children story writer, his Matilda won the Children’s Book Award shortly after it was published in 1988 and still is loved by many children and adults.
Matilda was first published in 1988 and is one of Dahl’s most famous works. It is illustrated by Quentin Blake (as usual with Dahl’s tales) and has a movie adaptation, and it is still quite popular as a Broadway musical.
It is a tale about a little girl, who is very clever and wants to learn about most things in the world, but unfortunately the adults around her aren’t very welcoming to her wish. Nevertheless, Matilda is a little superhero, she cares for the good people and seeks vengeance over the bad ones and her life changes, when she meets her teacher – Miss Honey, who sees Matilda for who she really is…
Matilda was one of my favourite books when I was a kid and that is the main reason why it took so long for me to read it again. I was quite afraid that I will think that the book is terrible and that it will ruin my memories of it. Thankfully that didn’t happen! I didn’t love the book, but I liked it quite enough.
This book made me think a lot about myself as a child, I don’t remember things that influenced me, but I had a few guesses while reading this book and I definitely could see myself relating to her. Although Matilda is very clever, she is also quite scary with how she gets back at her parents for being unkind to her. I don’t think that the unkindness done to her would make me want to do such things to anyone, yet, I think that Matilda had a good reason to be naughty.
Also I was very surprised to see Napoleon mentioned in the book (twice!). That is a historical figure that has always interested me, I think – even before I learned about him in school. I never knew why was it that I was a fan of him and I wonder, if this book, which had such a huge impact on me, wasn’t at fault. Perhaps I wanted to be as smart as Matilda? Well, I for sure tried to move things by looking at them…
This book shows a scary part of society and actually it addresses serious matters about parents being present in children’s lives and their impact on kids intellectual growth and education. Of course TV (what we hear about in this book) is not so much of a problem anymore, yet if Matilda’s father said ‘just watch the telly while you eat’, I am pretty sure we can say the same, if we change the sentence to include ‘play the iPad’ there. Surely it doesn’t offer much of a solution for the problems of ever growing society, but it makes one think.
I was kind of sad that the girl who talked and told Matilda and Lavender about the headmistress wasn’t more in the book. In my memories of this book, she was there more (probably because the book itself seemed longer), but I thought that she was a really cool character an the way author describer her was just amazing!
As I said, although I didn’t love the book, it made me think a lot about myself and what shaped my character, interests and well… life, and seems like Matilda had some role in it all. It received three stars on my goodreads page and I would recommend it for kids. I am not sure, if my mom would have approved me reading this book, if she knew, so perhaps some of the parents would want to read it before giving it to their kids.
And while I am at it, I would like to mention some of my other childhood heroes, which I loved and haven’t re-read, but based on my memories would recommend for children (I just added the books for which I could find a translation):