The book that got picked for September’s BHA is Matilda by Roald Dahl. I haven’t read this book yet, so it’s about time I read it and at the same time, participate in BHA for the second time. Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:
Who put superglue in Dad’s hat? Was it really a ghost that made Mom tear out of the house? Matilda is a genius with idiot parents — and she’s having a great time driving them crazy. But at school things are different. At school there’s Miss Trunchbull, two hundred menacing pounds of kid-hating headmistress. Get rid of the Trunchbull and Matilda would be a hero. But that would take a superhuman genius, wouldn’t it?
I’m very much familiar with this book’s film adaptation since it’s one of my favorite childhood movies. I used to watch it several times while not getting tired of it. In fact, it is only recently that I found out that the movie Matilda is based on a book (shame on me). But anyway, I’m still glad I’m not too late and too old to revisit my past.
Matilda is such an extraordinary and brilliant child. However, it’s a disappointment that her parents don’t see her as such. I can’t quite imagine a child having to be brought up by parents like hers. They would even go too far in underestimating and criticizing her, not even allowing themselves to have time to notice what Matilda is capable of. It’s unimaginable. If I were in their position, I would have been the proudest parent of all. And I really wonder where Matilda’s brilliance comes from, certainly not from her parents.
One thing I learned from this book is that it’s one’s knowledge that people can’t steal from a person. That’s what Matilda proves throughout the book. I’m very much fascinated in her, as a matter of fact. Despite her age, she has a brilliant mind, mature, and holds strong unimaginable power. She may not fit in in her family and she may have been one of Miss Trunchbull’s sources of anger, but she still stood on her ground with confidence, not taking pride of her gift. I would definitely want to meet such a person, if a person like her were ever to exist in this world.
It’s amazing to read about someone who is very much interested in words. The amount of time Matilda spends reading and devouring book after book makes me want to spend my day just to myself reading books, too – savoring every word and taking them in slowly. Just as one of the statements I found in the book, I yearn to “sit back and allow the words to wash around you, like music.”
Moving on, having to look deeper into the story, I find some things that are useful for discussions. The monetary condition of people in England, especially the poor, is explained through Miss Honey’s situation. Even margarine is a symbol of consumption for the less fortunate people. It’s remarkable how Matilda could see all these things through. Moreover, the concept of inheritance after death is also mentioned in this book.
Overall, I love this book! Reading this feels nostalgic as it brings back my childhood memories when I used to watch its film adaptation numerous times before. And frankly, I’m tempted to relive that moment again. The movie might not be completely the same as the storyline of the book, but the theme remains the same.