Thursday 1 August 2013

Matilda - Roald Dahl

Title: Matilda
Author: Roald Dahl
Genre: Childrens
Published: 1988
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

As part of the 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge I had to read a book that has been made into a movie. To be honest, this gave me a huge selection of novels to pick from and I initially had no idea which book to pick However, by luck my wife started discussing the movie “Matilda” which is of course based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name. When she heard that I had neither seen the film nor read the book she was horrified and basically told me I had to read it or our marriage was at risk! Therefore, it seemed like a perfect option to fulfil both the requirement of the reading challenge and avoid any chance of divorce.

The story basically follows an incredibly intelligent girl called Matilda who at the age of 5 can already read adult novels and is quite simply a maths genius. However, her family seem unable to see the wonder of their child and the way they treat her ranges from neglect to outright cruelty. However, once she start school, her new teacher Miss Honey sees the potential within Matilda and tries desperately to help in any way she can. Unfortunately, she is hampered by the head teacher known as Miss Trunchbull who decides that Matilda is going to be nothing but trouble.

The plotline was actually quite varied but was still simple enough for children to follow without too much trouble and this should ensure they are kept interested from start to finish. The main selling point though is the fact that it is at its heart this is a fun and humorous story which had me smiling throughout and should appeal to children the world over. Although I will add that there are some rather dark elements due to the way in which Matilda’s parents treat her and this could be a little bit much for younger children.

Personally, as a parent with two young children it was quite horrifying to see the way in which Matilda was treated and found it hard to understand how parents could treat their child in such a manner. However, I am aware neglect and cruelty does happen in the world and I therefore appreciated how the story did also showcase that there will be people out there like Miss Honey who do care and you should be more than willing to accept their help.

Overall, this is a rather brief review, mainly because I find with children’s books it can be quite hard to review it without completely spoiling it. However, in summary this is an enjoyable story that introduces a level of plot complexity that doesn’t treat children as idiots but it is still easy to understand. On a personal note I believe that in a few more years my children will love hearing the story of Matilda and I will love reading it to them, provided my wife doesn’t get there first of course!


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