Author: Roald Dahl
Published: October 1, 1988
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
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.
What a cute book! Obviously, it’s not based in common reality, but it’s told from a kid’s perspective that other imaginative kids would appreciate. It’s a book filled with extremes but done in such a great way. Good always defeats evil, kids are smart and adults are dumb, Miss Trunchbull hates all kids yet runs an elementary school. They all work without being overbearing or annoying. Matilda manages to outsmart most of the adults in her life without being an obnoxious kid. Miss Trunchbull is terrifying! I think this fits in with the Ramona books as being the perfect one for any and all kids. I really loved reading it!