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I don’t know about you but my Y/A years have been in a way shaped by Roald Dahl and his stories. Roald Dahl may have come late into my life—with me preferring to spend my childhood playing under the sun rather than read book indoors—but they never failed to remind me of the importance of goodness and that unpleasant deeds would always reap retribution either directly or indirectly. And this perhaps is best conveyed by Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
The story of Matilda brings us to the lives of the Wormwood family members who—except for Matilda—were not only crooked but cruel as well. Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood were so immersed in their world of crookedness that they failed to see that they have been blessed with a gifted child, Matilda. Instead of praising Matilda’s feat of brilliance, they thought that she was an ignorant little twit. And as if the gods are conspiring against her, Matilda’s headmistress—the Trunchbull—at school was ten times more horrible and whose favorite plaything were kids. Matilda must rise up to the challenge and get rid of the Trunchbull for good.
While full of engaging and humorous scenes, Matilda is an honest story about the two faces of human nature, the good and the bad. The early chapters gave us a clear picture that cruelty starts at home. Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood’s refusal or more likely ignorance of Matilda’s gift and chastising her for being an annoying chatterbox is already tantamount to child abuse. And this became even clearer when they decided to leave Matilda behind without a qualm. Then there’s the ugly side of leadership represented by the menacing Trunchbull who was not only a usurper but a big time bully as well who will definitely ruin a kid’s childhood.
On the other hand, despite growing up in a dysfunctional household, Matilda remained pure and rose from the baser nature of human ugliness. Her principle as young girl is no mean as she refused to be corrupted by her parents’ shady ways. Instead, she assertively took actions to ensure that the bullies got their own dose of medicine. Matilda’s ingenuity, courage and compassion are the things that really draw me to it. The laughter and the fluffiness were just an added bonus.
Matilda will surely captivate the hearts of the readers.