Matilda is an intelligent and independent child who has never known parental love. Matilda’s parents ignore her; they are self-absorbed dimwits on the grandest scale of dimwittery. In the adult fiction world this would translate into a tragic coming of age story of Oprah Book club proportions. But because this is a children’s book, there is tremendous light and laughter mixed in with the sad happenings. And perhaps, just maybe, we can believe that there will be a happy ending.
Early in her life Matilda discovers books; soon she is reading Great Expectations and learning mathematical equations. Matilda’s parents don’t understand Matilda; they are “gormless” TV watching losers with no life aspirations. Matilda’s dishonest car dealer father epitomizes shady and unloving. Matilda’s life and further troubles begin when her father sells a faulty car to school headmistress Trunchbull. After telling The Trunchbull about his terrible no-good daughter, she agrees to take on this pitiful student. Living up to her name, The Trunchbull is a mean hard woman who despises children; getting away with tossing them around by their pigtails. After all, whose parents would believe that a headmistress would behave that way?
Matilda finds an unexpected and wonderful advocate in Miss Honey, her teacher. Realizing that Matilda is absolutely special, Miss Honey strives to get her into an older more advanced class in school. The Trunchbull will have none of it, Matilda is to stay put. Miss Honey doesn’t give up, and soon the bond between lonely teacher and lonely child is formed. Miss Honey also has a shocking revelation; The Trunchbull is her Aunt! Furthermore, The Trunchbull may have killed Miss Honey’s father, in order to have his house and inheritance. Meanwhile, feeling threatened, Miss Honey has had to move into a small and drafty house, especially sad since the Trunch continues to take Miss Honey’s paycheck.
Armed with the knowledge that Trunchbull is a heartless adversary, Matilda will learn that she has the power to change the situation. When she focuses, Matilda has some special almost magical skills that she can use to stop the beastly Trunchbull. We all have hope that the evil doers will be defeated. This book will leave the reader in a good mood—if you loved Roald Dahl as a child it is even better as an adult. Do escape into the fun, whimsy and delight… I rather think that gormless is my new favorite adjective.
Matilda was written by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake and consists of 240 paperback pages.