12.08.2016

Book Review

Casey and I got on a kick and have been reading a chapter or two a night of some books that are for older kids. His homework requires 10-15 minutes of reading a night so it's been a good habit to get into. I make him lay very still and tell him it's time to shut off his brain and by the time I'm done reading, he's yawned at least once. So far, we have been strictly Roald Dahl as far as chapter books go. We started Matilda months ago but one day we were home and I decided to rent the movie. Since he knew how the story ended, he told me he no longer needed to finish reading the book but I decided I would finish it solo.
I never read this one growing up but from what I'd heard about the movie - which I also hadn't seen until we recently watched it - it was about a girl with magic powers. Unfortunately, what was a charmingly delightful children's movie was actually significantly darker in book form. Matilda is being raised by a neglectful mother obsessed with bingo and her looks and a crooked car dealer of a father. The book starts out with Matilda playing pranks on her dad to teach him a lesson about being an unsavory person. She's also a very gifted child and is taken under the wing of a sweet teacher named Miss Honey. Miss Honey's terrible aunt is The Trunchbull who also happens to be the horrendous head mistress of Matilda's school who torments children for a living. Matilda realizes she has mental telepathy and can move objects with her mind. She uses these powers to seek revenge on The Trunchbull and then everyone lives happily ever after.
I do not recommend this book for children. Casey recoiled when I read about The Trunchbull being a big old bully to the kids at the school, doing things like spinning them around by their pig tails and throwing them out of windows. There is a lot of time spent on describing how terrible Matilda's parents are and it borders on being tedious. This book is also very British and there are quite a few words that were big even for me. I'm interested in reading Witches next but I'm starting to wonder if Roald Dahl's works are just a bit too mature for the kiddo. It was pretty clear he was not into Matilda pretty much from the jump but I thought it would get better and it never did. Lesson learned.

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