Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl


If I were a kid, this would probably be my favorite book ever and I’d give it all the stars in the world.

But, I’m not a kid and, as an adult, this book is kind of…not suitable for kids? Is that right? Anyone who knows me can attest that I think children should read anything and everything. However, I do think parents have to be careful about knowing what they are reading and talking to them about it.

Matilda is the story of a 5-year-old girl who is intelligent well beyond her years. She is surrounded by adults who are nasty, hateful people. From her parents to the headmistress of her school. And, therein lies my major issue with Matilda. If a child reads this in a vacuum, they may believe that:

– It’s okay to defy your parents if you don’t like them.
– Bored because you are being ignored? Then just walk all over town and explore on your own. As a 5-year-old.
– Wanna get back at your parents? Put dye in your father’s hair tonic. Or, put glue around the edge of his hat so it gets stuck to his head.
– If the headmistress at your school is a complete be-yotch then just use your superpowers to scare her so badly that she faints.
– Don’t want to move out of town with your parents? Just get the teacher that you’ve known for a few weeks to agree to take you in. (No danger in that right?)

I know, I know. I’m reading way too much into this. My concern lies that there are really no repercussions for Matilda’s actions. Yes, all these people are horrible. But…this just seemed like a child getting revenge. If she got away with this at 5-years, what is she going to do at 13 when she doesn’t agree with her caretaker? Or at 20 when she’s in college and angry with her professor? Even at 40 when she has a major disagreement with her spouse? If you take the moral of this story, she should get back at them in the worst possible way.

Is this what we should teach our children?

3/5 stars because I do think that I would have been like “heck yeah” as a child.

3 thoughts on “Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

  1. This is a tough one Mary. I will say as a child I had some pretty horrible adults in my life, and I’ll confess I had my share of revenge fantasies, but I never contemplated acting upon them. That said, even though I loved this as a child, it’s a different world out there. I think if I was a parent and my child wanted to read Matilda I’d say “Sure. But do you mind if we read it together?”

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