Matilda by Roald Dahl – Mini Review #8

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. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.


Matilda is one of my favorite movies, but I’ve actually never read the book and I don’t think I would’ve if it weren’t for the readathon I’m participating in this month. Because I abandoned my readathon TBR, I had to find another book for history of magic (published at least 10 years ago). Found this gem on Libby and loved every single minute of that 4 hour audiobook. A few of my random thoughts:

  1. Kate Winslet did what she had to do. Ugh. Her performance was so engrossing. I want her to narrate more books.
  2. So, Ms. Honey was dirt poor? I mean, I knew she didn’t have money, but damn homegirl didn’t have two nickels to rub together and basically lived in a closet?
  3. Why did the movie make me think this was set in the U.S.? Or maybe that was me? Idk. It’s been a while since I’ve watched the movie, but I don’t recall the family living in a small England village.
  4. Book vs. movie adaptation? I can’t comment on that now, but I definitely noticed the changes they made for the movie. I need to watch Matilda again because it’s been a while. Hope it’s available on one of the fifty-leven streaming services I pay for 🤞🏿

Bottom line: Very enjoyable children’s classic. Wish I had read this as a child. I need a copy for my collection.

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