by Roald Dahl

August 2016

Matilda was my first introduction to Dahl’s writing (which I know has received much praise). I have to say, I loved his writing  . . .it was his writing alone that kept me reading because I hated the story! I’m a mom, so maybe that’s why, but I just thought it was awful. Then end redeemed it a little bit, but I seriously almost stopped reading 5 or 6 times throughout the book. Did it upset anyone else? Or am I alone? I will give Dahl another chance, by reading more of his work, but I did not love Matilda until the very, very end.

Matilda is a brilliant little girl who lives with her older brother and a mom and dad who hate her and hate reading and learning of all sorts. Her father is a dishonest car salesman and her mother is self-absorbed. Matilda learns about the library and begins to read voraciously, while being horribly treated at home. She is feisty and does what she can to get her parents back, but in the end, she is only 5 and has to do what she’s told. When she gets to kindergarten, her teacher is a dream and is one of the first people to care for her. The principal however, is just as awful as her parents and tortures her and the other school children. Spoilers: Matilda perseveres and because she is so brilliant and the adults are so cruel, she figures out she can make things happen by focusing her brain and sending power out through her eyes. She learns that her teacher is the niece of the principle and also has a horrid life, so Matilda uses her power to save the day. She makes the principle believe that her brother is speaking to her from the grave (by using her power to write on the chalk board while sitting her in seat). The principle, who had been stealing the teacher’s house/fortune/etc, gives everything to her and leaves town. Matilda’s father gets caught red-handed in his dishonestly and leaves town as well, agreeing to let Matilda say with her teacher. It is a very happy ending . . . thank goodness!

Summing it up: I hated this book so much because of how awful the kids are treated, but if that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, then you might just like it. 😉

All the best, Abbey


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