Matilda is, perhaps, one of Roald Dahl’s most well regarded novels. It tells the story of the titular Matilda and her rather troublesome life. It is, at its heart, a children’s novel, but it’s one which I think can still be generally enjoyed by adults, although there is an occasional lack of depth to the story.
Matilda is a nice and likeable young girl, and she’s also extremely intelligent. This, however, is by no means due to help or encouragement from her parents who are downright abusive towards her. Thankfully, her teacher, Miss Honey, realises her potential and tries hard to get her moved up a class in school and to give her the encouragement she deserves. Sadly for Matilda, however, another teacher at the school (Miss Trunchbull) is just about as horrible as her parents, making both her home life and her school life quite unpleasant.
As I’m sure you can tell, this has the potential to be a very emotional story. But, sadly, I don’t think it was ever quite fully realised. There are times when it is a bit sad, but it never went that far. I imagine this was probably done as it was self-consciously for children. But, on the bright side, you’ve still got that certain charm that you expect from Roald Dahl, with humorous bits here and there, and at least a minor element of the fantastical when telekinesis comes into it.
So, on the whole, while it is a nice read, it’s only a nice read. You read the story and you happily go along with it, smile at a few parts and then it’s over. I look at it as a whole and see that it has a great main character, lots of potential for emotional depth, a really rather dark story hidden behind childish innocence and lots of other things I really like, but for me it never quite clicked. But I’d not like to dismiss it entirely; I still had a nice enough time with it. Perhaps it’s something I should have read as a child.
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