Middle School Monday – Matilda by Roald Dahl


Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Published: June 1st 1998
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9780141301068
Age Range: 8+
Rating: 5/5 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, Mrs. (“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! Oh my goodness, I love her. I love this book and the movie, so if you get a chance I would recommend them both.

Matilda is about a young girl who is smart beyond her years. A prodigy some would say. She could read books by the age of 4! Matilda, although smart and self sufficient at a very young age has parents who are very neglectful. As a child I thought that maybe if my parents had of ignored me I could have been that smart too. I found the story to be inspiring, I wanted to be smart and nice like her. I also wanted a Miss Honey, I wanted someone who would read me big stories and play fun games with me.

As an adult reading this I felt very sorry for her, like her genius could have been nurtured and she could have been even stronger and smarter. I felt sad for her that she felt alone in dealing with Trenchbull and felt scared and nervous that she was out walking the streets alone.

I think Dahl made a classic here. I wish there was a sequel that tells us how Matilda ended up later in life. Did she become a teacher too? Does she still enjoy classic books? I have so many questions that I want answered about her life. I guess part of the fun with books like this is that we can imagine her future the way we want to.

Do you have an ending in mind for this story? I would love to hear it!

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