I had been reading Roald Dahl’s Matilda off and on for some time, and finally finished it yesterday. As always, Roald Dahl was witty and delightful.
Matilda is the story of a little girl Matilda, whose parents absolutely do not care for her. They are totally unaware of the great talents that Matilda possesses, and ignore everything that she has to say. In fact, they are perfect examples of how parents should NOT be. Matilda, being the wise girl that she is, decides to ignore them entirely, and teaches herself to read and write and count, in spite of the fierce disapproval of her parents. She is phenomenally intelligent, and begins to read classics even before she joins the first form at school.
Her teacher in first form, Miss Honey, recognizes that Matilda is a child prodigy, and brings this fact to the notice of the school headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Miss Trunchbull, sadly, is an ill-natured female who hates children, and disbelieves what Miss Honey has to say about Matilda. I won’t tell you what happens after that, for that would be spoiling the book for you. I would just say that Miss Honey is in awe of Matilda’s capabilities, and soon something happens that changes life for both of them.
I learnt that Matilda, the book, was once banned. I could see why. The parents could set really bad examples for kids, with their instructions to Matilda to see the TV instead of ‘having your nose buried in a damn book’, and quite fearsome descriptions of Miss Trunchbull’s atrocities on the children. Matilda’s little tricks to avenge the injustices her parents do to her – like filling her father’s hat with strong glue – are something kids would be better off not knowing.
I found Dahl’s writing in Matilda to be a little more mature, more adult-like, as compared to his other books that I’ve read so far. That said, Dahl is no less witty or humourous in this book than his others. This one too is just as beautifully written, just as charming, and as much a pleasure to read.
Have you read Matilda? How did you find it? If you haven’t, do grab a copy soon!