#74. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda is a children’s novel by British author Roald Dahl. It was published in 1988 by Jonathan Cape in London, with illustrations by Quentin Blake. The story centers around an extraordinary child named Matilda Wormwood. While some parents over-estimate their child’s abilities, some parents seem to take no interest in their child at all. Such is the case with Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, who are wrapped up in their own lives, and appear contemptuous of their daughter’s prodigious talents. It is through books that Matilda avoids the pitfalls of her family life and develops her imagination to catapult her to higher levels of coping. The interactions Matilda endures with both her parents and the headmistress Miss Trunchbull sets Matilda down the path that leads to the discovery of her power of telekinesis and the development of the wonderful relationship with her teacher, Miss Jennifer Honey.
On Dahl’s website, I learned that the first draft of the novel introduced Matilda’s character from the point of view of her parents, misleadingly portraying her as “just plain rotten” to highlight the misplaced priorities of Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood. However, I feel that the story from the point of view of Matilda is much more effective.
The 1996 film adaption directed by Danny DeVito (released on August 2nd) left out some intricate parts of the book that I felt would have made the movie more full-bodied to the viewers. Addition or omission of characters, such as Mr. Trilby, the Deputy Head, leads to a somewhat different ending than the novel plays out.