Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Matilda


Dahl, Roald. 1988. Matilda.

I read this one because I was inspired by Melissa. What can I say about it? It's wild. It's definitely out there. But it's fun. Oodles and oodles of fun. Realistic? Never in a million years. Was it meant to be? Of course not. A zany (how often do I use that word???) over-the-top thoroughly enjoyable read. Matilda is a young genius. (4 or 5 years old) An under appreciated genius at that. Her parents are ghastly. There really isn't any other way to say it. They're abominable. So Matilda has a way of getting back at her parents for their cruel and horrid behavior. Then it's time for Matilda to start school. She's got a good teacher--a teacher that is practically a saint--but the superintendent (my guess is the equivalent of a principal) is evil incarnate. The battle between good and evil has never been quite so strange. Anyway, it's a fun read. But as I said, it probably isn't for everyone.

It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful. Some parents go further. They become so blinded by adoration they manage to convince themselves their child has qualities of genius. Well, there is nothing very wrong with all this. It's the way of the world. It is only when the parents begin telling us about the brilliance of their own revolting offspring, that we start shouting, "Bring us a basin! We're going to be sick!"

240 pages.

5 comments:

Dewey said...

This book was my rock when I was a kid. I was the same sort of ambitious reader Matilda is, and my parents were as ghastly (and still are) as hers. Of course the over the top hijinks fueled my fantasies! I wonder how many other little girls identify with Matilda and wish they had her powers? I know my sister was another one...

Melissa said...

Ah, Dewey, my kids didn't think there were ANY parents out there as terrible as Matilda's. I suppose I should take that as a compliment, huh?

Becky -- I'll stick with my line: I like this book, but it's SO much better read out loud. Glad you read it, though.

Unknown said...

This book is one of my most favorite books. I loved it as a child and I love it now. I even loved the movie, which is rare!

Carl V. Anderson said...

Dahl is a genius, there is no denying that. I think his very short book, The Twits, is my favorite of his children's books. I only discovered him as an adult and find him uproariously funny. His adult short stories are fantastic as well. The kind of weird, bizarre stuff that is perfect for a sampling now and then or a short story binge. I highly recommend them.

anni said...

this is the best book ever