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“The Trunchbull” is no match for Matilda!

Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she's knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she's a super-nerd and the teacher's pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda's world...

For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there's the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Miss ("The") Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will, and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.

Roald Dahl was a spy, ace fighter-pilot, chocolate historian, and medical inventor. He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, and many more brilliant stories. He remains the World's No. 1 Storyteller.

240 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1988

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About the author

Roald Dahl

1,084 books24k followers
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as A Piece of Cake. The story, about his wartime adventures, was bought by the Saturday Evening Post for $900, and propelled him into a career as a writer. Its title was inspired by a highly inaccurate and sensationalized article about the crash that blinded him, which claimed he had been shot down instead of simply having to land because of low fuel.

His first children's book was The Gremlins, about mischievous little creatures that were part of RAF folklore. The book was commissioned by Walt Disney for a film that was never made, and published in 1943. Dahl went on to create some of the best-loved children's stories of the 20th century, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach.

He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending. Many were originally written for American magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, Harper's, Playboy and The New Yorker, then subsequently collected by Dahl into anthologies, gaining world-wide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories and they have appeared in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death. His stories also brought him three Edgar Awards: in 1954, for the collection Someone Like You; in 1959, for the story "The Landlady"; and in 1980, for the episode of Tales of the Unexpected based on "Skin".

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 22,383 reviews
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews · 1,265 followers
November 4, 2014

While I personally love a book about a child prodigy (especially in the area of telekinesis), I had a different reaction to this book while rereading it as an adult. As a kid I thought Matilda was awesome, she was intelligent and independent. As an adult I see this as a book about gross neglect and a commentary on absentee parenting and its role in our children's education.

I come from a county where the dropout rate is high and everyone wants to blame the teachers, but no one identifies the real problem of parents or caregivers not taking an active role in their child's schooling. To many of them, school is free babysitting and nothing more. They take no interest in helping their children succeed and tell the educators that it is their job to teach the children, disavowing any responsibility of their own. Once in a while you have a special case like Matilda who decides to work on her education on her own, despite the indifference of her parents. But more often these children turn into cases for Child Protective Services (or the equivalent) due to the negligence occurring in their home lives.

Matilda gets her happy ending, but most children in similar situations do not. Reread this as an adult with the above perspective and you will find a chilling tale of a child trying to create something better for herself than the toxic circumstances she was born into.
Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews · 64.1k followers
February 10, 2017
Absolutely delightful. I really wish I'd read this when I was a kid - I would have related to and loved Matilda so much! I like that this is a book for children that doesn't cater to them - it treats them like intelligent beings. The plot was exciting, the characters fun, and the themes interesting.

All together I've only read two Dahl books now (Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) but I definitely want to keep reading them!
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
554 reviews · 60.5k followers
February 11, 2020
7yo Emily would be so happy right now!

Finally got around to reading this book and I'm so pleased it was so close to the movie I adored as a kid. The best scenes are definitely there and they still made me laugh.

As an adult though, I have to say Miss Honey treating Matilda as an equal was... weird to say the least.
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,259 reviews · 5,634 followers
November 20, 2022
ظلت تقرأ وهذا آثار جنونه
لقد كانت تنال المتعة من شيء لا يفهمه
الا تكفين عن القراءة ابدا؟
حسنا !!كم مرة سمعنا هذه الجملة الحقودة الفارغة الغبية؟عشرات؟ مئات المرات؟ Screenshot-2018-12-17-12-39-35-1

تكون محظوظا حقا لو لم تسمعها يوميا من ابويك ..
مثل ماتيلدا طفلة الخامسة
التي زارت أفريقيا مع همنجواي
ابحرت بسفن جوزيف كونراد الخشبية العتيقة
و أقلعت للهند مع روديارد كيبلنج
كل هذا و هي في غرفتها بتلك القرية البريطانية

تحيا في ظل أب نصاب يعتقد أنه هدية للبشرية
و ام تمتلك غباءا"كابوسيا
و تكتمل المأساة بمديرة مدرسة ذات نزعات إرهابية إجرامية واضحة لكل كفيف

اذا كنت عبقرى سيكون نصيبك من اي عذاب مضاعفا بل مكبرا بمجهر فاخر حقا ...و ماتيلدا كانت اذكى من اي شخص ستقابله ..نوع يظهر كل قرنين من الزمان..لذا فاحذر من انتقامها حتى لو كانت طفلة قصيرة بغرة على الجبين...
فالقاريء لا يهزم 📖

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews · 45 followers
September 2, 2021
Matilda, Roald Dahl

Matilda is a book by British writer Roald Dahl. It was published in 1988.

Matilda's parents have given their daughter ugly nicknames: "Trickster!"; "Stupid!"; "Unconscious!" "Lier!"; But to be honest, Matilda is a little genius girl. It remains to be seen, then, how Matilda can rise above her parents, and show the principal that she has exceptional talent and power.

Roald Dahl has been named Britain's Best Male Writer; He writes: "If you want to see the world through the eyes of children, kneel on the ground on all fours, and look at the adults who roll their eyes over your head and command and forbid you." The book's illustrator has won the Hans Christian Andersen Video Award.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «ماتیلدا»؛ «متیلدا»؛ «ماتلدا»؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه آگوست سال 1998میلادی

عنوان: ماتیلدا؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: محبوبه نجف خانی؛ تهران، نشر چشمه؛ 1376؛ در 246ص؛ شابک 9646194532؛ چاپ چهارم 1384؛ چاپ پنجم 1386؛ در 266ص؛ شابک 9789646194533؛ ششم 1388؛ هفتم 1391؛ چاپ هشتم 1394؛ موضوع داستانهای طنز کودکان و مدرسه ها از نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 20م

عنوان: ماتیلدا؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: شهلا طهماسبی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز؛ 1376؛ در 218ص؛ شابک 9643053377؛ چاپ دوم 1379؛ چاپ چهارم 1382؛ چاپ هفتم 1385؛ هشتم 1386؛ شابک 9789643053376؛ چاپ نهم 1388؛ دهم 1389؛ دوازدهم 1393؛ سیزدهم 1394؛

عنوان: ماتیلدا؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: علی پناهی آذر؛ تهران، گلدیس؛ 1379؛ در 216ص؛ شابک 9646837077؛

عنوان: متیلدا؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: مهناز داودی؛ تهران، وزارت فرهنگ سازمان چاپ واننشارات، نشر زلال؛ 1380؛ در 237ص؛ شابک9644222148؛

عنوان: ماتلدا؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: مرضیه نادری شهاب؛ تهران، نشر مرضیه نادری شهاب؛ 1385؛ در 232ص؛ شابک 9640687200؛

عنوان: ماتیلدا؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: پروین علیپور؛ تهران، افق؛ 1386؛ در 269ص؛ شابک 9789643693619؛ چاپ دوم 1387؛ چاپ سوم 1388؛ چاپ چهارم 1389؛ چاپ پنجم 1390؛ در 323ص؛ چاپ هشتم 1392؛ در 323ص؛

عنوان: ماتیلدا؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: علی هداوند؛ تهران، کارگاه فیلم و گرافیک سپاس؛ 1393؛ در 230ص؛ شابک 9786006767239؛

پدر تو چه‌ طور به دختر نابغه‌ ات می‌گویی: بی‌شعور

پدر و مادر «ماتیلدا» لقب‌های زشتی به دخترشان داده‌ اند: «حقه‌ باز!»؛ «احمق!»؛ «بی‌شعور!» «دروغگو!»؛ اما راستش را بخواهید «ماتیلدا» یک دختر کوچولوی نابغه است؛ پس باید دید که «ماتیلدا» چطور می‌تواند رودست پدر و مادرش بلند شود، و به مدیر مدرسه بفهماند، که استعداد، و قدرتی کاملاً استثنایی دارد؛ «رولد دال» بهترین نویسنده‌ ی مرد «انگلستان»، لقب گرفته است؛ ایشان می‌نویسند: «اگر می‌خواهید دنیا را از دریچه‌ ی چشم کودکان ببینید، چهار دست و پا روی زمین زانو بزنید، و به بزرگسالانی که بالای سرتان، چشم غره می‌روند، و به شما امر و نهی می‌کنند، نگاه کنید.»؛ تصویرگر این کتاب برنده‌ ی جایزه‌ ی تصویری «هانس کریستین آندرسن» شده است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 28/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 10/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
969 reviews · 6,871 followers
January 12, 2023
There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.
-Marcel Proust

I loved this book so much as a child that I quite literally named a child after it. Matilda by Roald Dahl is a beloved children’s classic for a reason and one that still warms the hearts of kids and adults today. Who doesn’t love a book that celebrates the empowerment of reading, that tells a story of overcoming tyrants and surviving abuse while retaining a love for the world? Wrap that all up in a story of a girl with magical powers and a will to freedom and love aided by librarians and a caring teacher and you’ve got yourself a winning story. While I noticed some problematic aspects returning to this again as an adult, I was reminded how much this story meant to me as a kid and how much it grew inside me through my whole life.

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives.

For the uninitiated, Matilda is the story of a young girl who ‘longed for a friend, someone like the kind, courageous people in her books.’ Her parents neglect her and are involved in shady dealings, her principal is a nightmare who hates children and loves punishment, but she has discovered her magic powers and will right the wrongs in order to thrive. There is a fantastic film adaptation I used to watch constantly as a kid and this, coupled with movies like The Pagemaster, was an early start to my love of libraries and books. We see how books can comfort the lonely, can inspire and empower, and there’s nothing I love more than the idea that money is not an obstacle to reading when you have a library card. Flash forward to today, I work in a library and in a bookstore and, likely thanks to Matilda, have devoted a large part of my life to getting good books to the people who need them.
So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.

The idea that books remind you ‘you are not alone’ is something that has always struck me hardest. I used to leave favorite poems all over trees for that very reason, to say ‘I was here’ but also ‘you are not alone’ and picked passages that might comfort or inspire. Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish once wrote ‘A poem in a difficult time / is beautiful flowers in a cemetery,’ and I believe this applies to books too. A good book can help in times of need, can comfort, uplift, can be a friend when you need one. And in good times too, a book can elevate your day and be a companion in your mind, something you can’t wait to return and read more. ‘There is no frigate like a book / to take us lands away,’ wrote Emily Dickinson, and Franz Kafka reminds us that a ‘book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us,’ so I have always believed in the power of books. Reading helps build empathy and opens us to new ideas, so read widely and often and definitely read to children if you have any available.

Dahl is a complicated figure, however, and there were some aspects that raised my eyebrow while reading. You can always find discourse on Dahl all over the internet, such as the extremely frustrating fact of his vocal antisemitism, or his use of racist tropes, and claims of fatphobia and misogyny abound. A big debate is often about the way he writes about women, as The Witches is hotly argued, though many consider Matilda to be a feminist work. Sure, we have Ms Honey, a single woman who is able to rise about on her own, and Matilda, a young, determined girl who can overthrow tyrants. But the depiction of Agatha Trunchbull are a bit unpleasant as it seems an anti-lesbian structuring. Called simply by her last name, Trunchbull is vaguely based on Soviet Olympian Faina Melnik and is described as big and bulky and, well, rather masculine. It would seem, as a contrast to Ms Honey, that Dahl finds women acceptable only if they perform femininity in the “right” way. Trunchbull is pretty blatantly queer and he depicts her in a way that is very similar to accusations thrown against queer women at the time, such as wanting to destroy the nuclear family (after the children spell ‘difficulty’: ‘Mrs D, Mrs I, Mrs FFI, Mrs C, Mrs U, Mrs LTY,’ Trunchbull is outraged and snaps ‘why are all these women married?’) and for not being sexually desirable the way society thinks they should be. It all seemed a bit off, and a quick internet search showed I wasn’t alone in thinking this, so, as a queer person myself, that's a bit of a bummer. The book does focus on breaking the cycle of child abuse and a lot of it is very good, but this was rather awkward as an adult. Also the reading list in the book is very much white, male cannon. So take that as you will, I still find the book worth reading and enjoyable, and I have to give a hand to Pam Ferris for a knockout performance as Agatha Trunchbull in the film. Separating art from an artist is something that people will do at their own comfort level and we should give space for everyone for that.

This book looks at the mentality of ‘I'm right and you're wrong, I'm big and you're small, and there's nothing you can do about it,’ and tells it to sit down and shut up. This is an underdog story (well, an underdog with magic) and one that celebrates reading. I loved Matilda as a child and now look at me, I’m writing about books constantly of this website hoping people might see them and be inspired, and spending my working hours getting books into people’s hands. Books, they are the coolest.

Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews · 157k followers
December 10, 2020
Does anyone really, truly love to learn as much as Matilda?
Books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.
She is such an inspiration - and not only because of the freaky telekinetics.

When I first read this book as a fifth grader, I absolutely connected with her. FINALLY! someone who likes to read as much as me!

I would spend hours at the library with my mother, steadily reading my way through a pack of books. It was my dream to say,
“I'm wondering what to read next." Matilda said. "I've finished all the children's books.”
Unfortunately, I never got the chance but I firmly maintain that if my mother took me to a (significantly) smaller library then I (maybe) could've said Matilda's signature line.

Two, very important things:

1) Matilda belongs to an absolutely terrible family. Wholly and truly despicable. Her father cheats people out of their money, her mother is downright nasty and her older brother complaisantly watches as she's harassed.

2) Matilda is an absolute genius.

She began reading at the age of three and hadn't stopped since. Every time she showed the least bit of exceptional talent, her family would maliciously shoot her down. She finds solace in books and in a few rather clever pranks on her folks.

When Matilda is old enough, she is sent to primary school, in Miss Honey's class. She immediately becomes attached and adores school even more than the library.

When Mrs. Trunchbull - the resident evil Headmistress - picks on Matilda's class, Matilda soon discovers several extremely rare and eccentric talents that will knock Mrs. Trunchbull off her feet.

This was wholly and endearingly charming. So many wonderful memories were relived during this reread - and wow. They certainly didn't censor kids books back then!

Audiobook Comments
Narrated by Kate Winslet - absolutely stunning. I can only imagine what her face looked like when she used the "Trunchbull" voice. If you're itching for a reread - definitely pick up the audio!!

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Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews · 44.8k followers
April 25, 2018
Matilda is a lovely little book. It’s a book about standing up against bullies (no matter who the bullies are.) It’s also a book about learning to live with yourself, about being who you are despite the pressures those who are supposed to love you may exert on your personality. It’s a book written for readers and one that establishes so firmly why reading is so damn important in a world that is becoming increasingly detached from the things that truly matter in life.

I wish I’d read it when I was a kid.
Profile Image for Grace Tjan.
187 reviews · 510 followers
January 6, 2011
5 stars from my little girl, Jess (age 7).


Comments while reading:

"Matilda's parents are sooo stupid!"

"What is a 'used car salesman'?"

"How does putting sawdust and oil in a car's gearbox make it run smoother?"

"The funniest parts are when Miss Trunchbull hurled the kids out of the classroom, and when the newt fell on her."

"How come Miss Trunchbull made Nigel stand with one leg up while facing the wall? That's a weird punishment."

"What?! Miss Honey's wicked aunt is Miss Trunchbull?"

"What is a will?"

"I'm glad that Matilda can live with Miss Honey."
Profile Image for Carolyn Marie  Castagna.
290 reviews · 6,250 followers
December 29, 2022
My first read of 2022, and I ADORED it!
One of my reading goals for 2022 is to read classics (and books in general) that have been on my TBR for ages! I’ve been wanting to read Matilda for such a long time, but for some reason I never did! I’m incredibly happy to say that I finally have read it and loved every second!
Roald Dahl is such a fantastic writer, and I can’t wait to read many more of his books in the future!
My favorite thing about this story was the mention of other books, especially Nicholas Nickleby and how Mrs. Trunchbull resembled Mr. Squeers!
Such a funny and brilliant book!
Profile Image for Starjustin.
91 reviews · 255 followers
March 15, 2018
5 stars for another Roald Dahl masterpiece! He adds a way of life, in the form of magic, to his characters. Many have mentioned to me that they read several of his books when they were children. I guess I am just one of those people that missed out reading him when I was younger however, I am extremely happy to discover him now and know that my grandchildren are reading his books also.
This story was made into a movie also and I can't wait to see it. I highly recommend reading Roald Dahl if you haven't already experienced this author. Enjoy!
Profile Image for BAM the enigma.
1,899 reviews · 378 followers
July 11, 2019
I have short-changed this story by giving it 3 stars for so long. I ran out and bought this book for my little nieces for Christmas. No way they will grow up without Matilda in their life. She's brilliant! What a love for books and knowledge! Such a gentle, empathetic soul! I can't wait to share her with them.


Listening to this for the third time...I just adore Kate Winslet's narration. She's fantastic, perfect for children and adults.,


Audible relisten I️ just cannot get enough of this story. It’s whimsy and love of books keeps me entertained while I️ clean.

5/24/18 audio reread #55

1/16/19. I can never get enough of this book

I can’t go very long without listening to Kate Winslet’s amazing narration. I think I have many passages memorized by now. I could listen once a week and still be entertained. This is a perfect pairing of story and voice.
Profile Image for James.
20 books · 3,729 followers
July 2, 2017
Book Review
Roald Dahl gets 4+ out of 5 stars for his knock-it-out-of-the-park story, Matilda, from 1988. For some reason, I thought this was published before 1988, but I know I read it when I was 13, so... must have been right then. I thought it was great. Looking back years later, and seeing all the films and cartoons made from it, I love it even more. While she's a good role model in many ways for young kids, she's all a little too spunky and might give some the wrong impressions. Nevertheless, with the right guidance, she can be someone to look up to.

Not everyone gets the best parents, family, teachers and friends. And when you don't, you better be a smart girl to be able to make it on your own. And that's what she is... brilliant, funny, witty, sarcastic, friendly... everything all wrapped up into 1 adorable young girl. She has a few adventures, tries to make things happen and shows the world who she. And that's all we can ask for! Great book. Great story. Lots to see and learn. Definite re-read some day!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,476 reviews · 2,412 followers
December 16, 2022
💝A reread 💜 an ode to the upcoming musical!!!!🎼🎶🎵🎹I absolutely love this one. She is just like me. But I wish I was a bit like her too.

*She and I may be the annoying person if we happen to be real. Me in this fiction and her as me in real I mean ☺️

*She is the kind of kid I want to have and attack my parents 😎
Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
764 reviews · 762 followers
August 11, 2020
Review to come, of course. This is Roald Dahl at nearly his best. I'm reading it too slowly for my taste but sometimes life gets in the way. I thought his best book is Going Solo actually. But Matilda is quite original. It's like the movie Home Alone, only the parents are the villains. It's a bit of an exaggeration, but I just threw it there.

Okay, done.

This was such a fun read, drenched with magical writing, and emanating the familiar bouquet of bittersweet nostalgia feeling that I am wont to experience with my favourite Roald Dahl books. It reminded me of the absolute mastery of the author in couching the absolute horrors of human nature within staples of children literature, such as growth, triumphing over personal fears, standing up against unfairness, camaraderie, using ingenuity against adversity and so on. As a child, I did not grasp the depth of scars that could be sustained when visited with the tragedies mentioned in here. But ironically, as an adult I found them to be crippling in the extreme.

Most of the darkness in this book is conveyed through Ms. Honey's past. Her loss, the sense of being trapped, and then abused, bullied, almost all of these originating from the bovine Trunchbull. I mean between her and the Wormwoods, it sometimes seems as if they are neck in neck in the running for the Knobel Prize for douchebaggery. But the truth is that the Trunchbull is operating on a whole other level. The Phelps (not the kindly librarian in the book, but the all-conquering, Olympic swimmer) of the competition, if you will.

Though I seem to make the book sound like a foray into the wintry-gray ambience of a Russian novel, it really isn't remotely as bleak. Roald Dahl very deftly veils most of the ugliness from us, softening most of its impact. Matilda's pranks against the escalating shenanigans of her horrid, anti-intellectual parents are hilarious. I also liked the description of Matilda settling in, cosy as can be with hot chocolate to engage in some bookworming (Though with a touch of envy I must say. The delights of hot chocolate are quite lost to me as I live in a fairly warm, sometimes boiling part of the island I'm from). And I never thought I would cheer for an obese boy to go through such an unhealthy amount of chocolate cake. By the time he was done, he was my hero.

Schadenfreude doesn't cover what I felt when the comeuppance comeuppanced (or should that be cameuppance?). It was a vicariously cathartic experience to realise all would be well again. If it hadn't, this would not be a children's book. But it is. And I'm grateful for that.
February 11, 2022

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I can't help but feel that every teen who likes dark academia secretly has a copy of this book moldering somewhere in their bookcase. MATILDA is like the OG dark academia book, and so many things about it shaped tropes I still love today: shy and bookish heroines who are quietly brave; evil schools; strong female friendships; and off the wall crazysauce. It's a scathing criticism of the cruelty of English schools, but it's also a story of female empowerment.

Every once in a while I get criticism for my middle grade reviews. People will say things like, "What do you expect, this is a book for children?" Which, if you ask me, is rather condescending, because it suggests that some authors are assuming children are too dumb to recognize inferior goods when they come across them. Which, to be fair, some don't. There's no accounting for taste. But plenty of middle grade is good and does hold up, so the "it's a book for children and adults shouldn't criticize!" remark really doesn't add up, and age group really oughtn't to be a shield against criticism for things like character development and cohesiveness of the plot. Just my two cents.

MATILDA is one of those rare books where I actually think the movie is better, just because of the casting and how the movie adds some chilling scenes (such as when they sneak into Trunchbull's house) and answers some questions that the book really didn't. I also personally like the ending of the movie better, but I won't say why outright because spoilers. It's the eponymous story of a girl named Matilda who is incredibly brilliant and is already reading things like Dickens and doing large mathematical sums in her head before she even turns five. Her parents are awful people-- the mom makes money from playing bingo and the dad is a shady used car salesman-- and neither of them like her much at all, and at worst, their behavior could be considered neglectful and emotionally abusive.

Before she goes to Crunchem Hall, all of her education was self-taught, mostly from a kindly librarian who helped her pick out famous classics despite being quietly fascinated by her intelligence. School ought to have been the place where she felt like coming home, but because of the sadistic and abusive headmistress, it is a place of terror. I think Dahl did a good job making her seeing fantastically but believably evil. The chokey was always incredibly terrifying: it's a cupboard where Trunchbull would lock up "bad" students. The walls were paved with broken glass and the door had nails in it, so if you didn't stand perfectly straight in the airtight cupboard, you'd get all lacerated. Yikes. Then there's Miss Honey's story and the implied molestation and abuse there, and it's all honestly pretty chilling.

So you can get what happens. Matilda ends up in a war with the Trunchbull. The movie is way more emotionally intense but the book does a great job too and the ending is still pretty satisfying. I loved the characters of Matilda and Miss Honey and I thought Matilda's family was believably awful because we've all met oafish jerks like that. Roald Dahl is a great children's author but this has always been one of my favorite books of his, partially because it's more believable and partially because it features a girl protagonist who is allowed to be strong and victorious, and not beaten down, which makes the story feel both timeless and incredibly progressive, all at the same time.

4 to 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews · 627 followers
March 5, 2017
The best!!! Thanks to Samra!!!! She brought back great memories....

This was a favorite of my daughters when she was around 8 or 9 years old.

Some books just make you smile --connect mothers and daughters reading together --
make us laugh - and remind us of simple pleasures.
This is 'that' type of book!

Profile Image for Dream.M.
509 reviews · 90 followers
October 4, 2021
خاطره بهم پیام داد که برای تولدت چه کتابی میخوای؟
انتخاب سختی بود، (راستش من همه کتابای دنیا رو میخوام) از اونجایی که عاشق کتابای کودکم ولی همیشه کتابای بزرگسال توی اولویت مطالعه‌م هستن ( و اولویت خرید)، و خیلی وقت هم بود دلم یه کتاب از رولد دال میخواست، بهش گفتم یا کتاب ماتیلدا رو برام بگیر یا غول بزرگ مهربان . روی یا خیلی تاکید کردم .
وقتی هدیه‌م رسید، دیدم جفتشون رو برام فرستاده و از خوشحالی جیغ کشیدم. (توی دنیا هیچی مثل کتاب و آبرنگ و جواهر خوشحالم نمیکنه). بعدشم زودی شروع کردم به خوندنش، اما کم کم خوندم که زود تموم نشه.
اخ که چقدر چسبید. از خاطره و رولد دال و خودم و کارمتد اداره پست ممنونم بخاطر این حس خوب.
خود کتابم که احتیاج به تعریف نداره . باید خیلی بی سلیقه باشی که خوشت نیاد.
Profile Image for emma.
1,871 reviews · 54.8k followers
December 1, 2021
well, well, well. if it isn't our collective villain origin story.

many of roald dahl's books have hit me hard, for varying reasons: their being the inspiration for a perfect stop-motion film by wes anderson; an uncharacteristic and mild lifelong interest in world war II; an appreciation for large kind men.

but none for a reason better than this one.

i was, as i'm sure many of you were too, an incredible nerd in childhood. an indoors kid. a dork. in other words, a bookworm.

and this book was like, hey. you know your favorite thing in the world? the hobby you like doing more than anything else (and it's not close)? not only is that thing cool, contrary to prior belief, but it will also make you magic. and because of it you will be adopted by the best person on earth and eat chocolates along the way.

so good.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,067 reviews · 1,763 followers
December 16, 2022
دوباره دارم برای بچه‌ها (شش ساله و هشت ساله) می‌خونم و بازخوردی که ازشون می‌گیرم خیلی خوبه. زیاد براشون داستان تعریف می‌کنم. اما این اولین باره که با این همه ذوق و علاقه گوش می‌دن، می‌خندن، همراهی می‌کنن، تصور می‌کنن و گاهی حتی اتفاقات داستان رو اجرا می‌کنن.
همراه این کتاب، پی‌پی جوراب بلند رو هم براشون خریدم. ولی هنوز نرفتیم سراغ اون. هروقت اون رو هم خوندیم، بازخوردشون رو می‌نویسم.
Profile Image for Julie G.
897 reviews · 2,935 followers
September 3, 2019
Some days it seems like hardly any of my childhood dreams came true.

I never grew up to have Lynda Carter's cleavage:


I never grew up to be a sassy black woman with an afro, like my childhood idol, Willona Woods, from Good Times:


And I never (no matter how many times I tried) learned to fly or to move objects around with my eyes.

But, somehow, Roald Dahl knew about these childhood dreams. Knew that kids want to have a magical bustline, rare hair, or powerful eyes that make evildoers pay for their bad behavior.

And it's this ability, combined with his fantastic writing and humor, that makes his books what they are.

A third read of Matilda this week did not disappoint. Roald Dahl always gets it, and never gets old for me.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
943 reviews · 14k followers
May 23, 2017
This book was MAGNIFICENT. I would have adored it as a kid, and even as an adult, I thought that the language was so enchanting, the storyline was heartwarming and gripping, and Matilda herself was such a strong and dynamic role model. I will definitely be investing in more Roald Dahl books, because I thought this one was beautiful and the pictures went with it so well and all the descriptions were so nice and it was such an enjoyable reading experience.

However, I docked a star from this because I felt as if there was some antagonization of athletic and overweight women. Anyone who wasn’t described as skinny or beautiful was described as a villain, like Trunchbull and her athletic body type constantly being something to be seen as gross and inhumane, and as other bullies who are described as being fat are seen as sloppy and unlikable. Additionally, I felt Trunchbull herself turned into a horrible character. I realize that a lot of the situations in this book are hyperbolized, but literally throwing kids around with no penalties even though another adult was present felt very abusive and although Matilda and Lavender worked to play pranks on her to get her back, it read as really severe and actually made me uncomfortable and pitiful for the children at certain points.

But for a kid’s book i’ll take it with a grain of salt and just say that I really really wish I would have read this as a kid and it’s making me want to read all the classic children’s literature.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
7 books · 1,257 followers
September 3, 2015
This might be one of the most perfect books for readers. It's about a reader who just wants to get her read on and bad people are trying to stop her.

Instant character attachment!

Fully involved in the "tumultuous" plot!

"Let my reader goooo...." sing the readers!

What a wonderful tale! Little Matilda is saddled with a nasty father, a fairly terrible mother and an indifferent brother. Matilda just wants to read. Why read when we've got the telly, wonder her disgusting parents. After being crapped on enough times, Matilda begins taking out her revenge in the whip-smartest ways and so ensues the fun!

Dahl's style is all over this. His bad guys are awfully bad, I mean really wonderfully rotten. His hero is intelligent and intrepid, with Dahl no doubt using his secret agent background to infuse even the simplest fairytale with spy-craft cunning. His story is episodic. You can see the acts/scenes play out with definitive beginnings and ends, as if he wrote a handful of short stories and plugged them into one book.

Negatives include some unbelievably bad bad guy moments that leave us boring adult readers thinking, "well that could never happen"...because we're dumb. Also, I don't think this needed the dip it takes into magical fantasy. It was doing perfectly fine without it. I rather liked that Matilda was solving her problems on her own without a supernatural assistance. It was more impressive.

Lots of adult subject matter herein (Suicide?!...shit dude, that's heavy) and I was taken back a bit at first. This is a kid's book after all. But I guess even I'd forgotten that kid's books used to dish out the tough stuff back in the old days. Now it's all about princesses and pretty pretty rainbow ponies, and if one of them gets a cold, it's a fucking big deal.

I was considering reading this to my niece, who just turned six, so I wanted to pre-read it first to make sure it was suitable. I wasn't actually worried about the subject matter (and I'm still not), I was more concerned about the length. She's not into long books yet, you see. Not much of an attention span on that girl, but I'm partly to blame. Historically speaking, when she's come to visit it becomes a whirlwind of "WHAT DO WE DO NEXT!!!", because when she was about 3 to 5 years old I just wanted to keep her entertained. I might've gone overboard. She's come to expect a circus for every visit to my house. Nonetheless, having finally read Matilda and knowing how much my niece loves to read, I do believe this will soon become an absolute favorite of hers as it as has so quickly become one of mine.
Profile Image for Banny Kirsten Marie Reviews.
43 reviews · 6,325 followers
May 18, 2018
What a lovely story this was... Matilda by Roland Dahl was the first book i had ever heard all the way threw by audiobook. My brother Clay who is obsessed with the study of birds carefully layed the book beside him just to get a good listen to the story. My sister who was tending to my mom's coffee and takeing care of me while i was very sick had to stop by the liveing room a few times this morning to also get a good listen to what was happening in the story. I was truly thriled that my siblings were into this story as much as i was.... Of course if you asked them what they thought of the book they would simply respond with an "it was okay" answer but the expressions on their faces were priceless and it was not an okay look it was a this book is incredible look.

Matilda Wormwood was a five and a half year old girl who lived with uncareing, inconsiderant, and selfish parents. Her father was a crook who cheated people whenever they were buying his cars. Mr. Wormwood was a nasty beastly man and his wife was no better. Mrs. Wormwood often left Matilda alone so she could go play bingo in the village... Matilda had to feed and take care of herself at the age of three. Everyday after her mother left for bingo Matilda would walk down a busy highway to the library where she would devour book after book.

At five and a half Matilda ventured to school and met her best friend Lavender, her teacher Ms. Honey, and her wicked headmistress Ms. Trunchpull... *Spoiler Ms. Trunchpull was acually Ms. Honeys aunt so they were related but that detail did not matter in the book until almost the end.* Ms. Trunchpull was a very strong and athletic person who really enjoyed beating up on the poor children of Ms. Honeys classroom... They were called names, thrown out the windows of the building, hung by their ears and hair..... Oh the poor children in Ms. Trunchpulls hands all the children ever feared most of all was that strapping, strong, mean headmistress who would often virbually and physically abuse them.

Matilda grew to love her new teacher but she despised her headmistress... This little girl had so much anger built up inside of her that it was incredible... She developed powers because of all the electricity building up inside of her and she began to notice this durning one of her lessons with Ms. Trunchpull... Matilda found herself starring at a glass of water and demanding it to tip over and it did. Matilda practiced and practiced her new power and the only one she ever told about it was Ms. Honey who had a taste of what Matilda was capable of...

Thats all the summary i want to go into because if you have not read the book then i am not going to ruin more for you...... Lets just say *Spoiler...... Ms. Trunchpull was run out of town thanks to Matilda and everything was like new after Ms. Honey adopted her.* Wait okay i did ruin more of the book for you but i did not tell you about the newt or why Ms. Honey takes in the little girl so it is still worth a read.

I sadly cannot rate this book with five stars....... What i noticed with it was that her life at home was what made the story fun..... The whole Wormwood family was what made the story fun and whenever the author cut them out just so Matilda could go to school......Well it was kind of dissapointing. Did i forget to mention that Matilda was a genius? Well she was and her little mind held thousands of facts about books and mathamatics problems.

Matilda is a four star rateing which is still perfect and it is a reccomended book but the violence is kind of severe so most definatly not a kindergarden- forth grade age appropriate. I did not approve of Ms. Truncchpull and her way of treating children and i also do not umnderstand why parents did not complain..... Yesthey were scared of her but why did they not just pull their children out of school and stuck them in a new one with a fresh start?

My Rateing
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jean-Luke.
1 book · 395 followers
March 6, 2023
[For God's sake leave Roald Dahl alone! Sometimes, especially in FICTION, people are fat or bald or ugly, and if you, the adult, cannot handle it--believe me, your child will not be the one who's offended--please feel free to read something else. Rant over.]

Dear Matilda, how I'd love to skim your Goodreads profile. Your 'read' list would put mine to shame and I would be absolutely, one hundred percent okay with that. I do have to tell you aren't the first person who comes to mind when I hear the name Matilda, which leads me to wonder if you've ever read Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell? You must have, surely. Your parents would be pleased to hear they made a fabulous television adaptation of Cranford, though I doubt they're the kind of people who can appreciate the talents of Judi Dench as Miss Matty Jenkyns. By the way, what did you make of Brighton Rock at the age of four? I, myself, just happen to adore it.
Profile Image for Bhavya .
479 reviews · 904 followers
September 13, 2021
“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”

~ Rating- 5 stars ~

I could never rate it lower.

This book just holds so much nostalgia for me.

I remember picking it up from my school library. It was a dusty, old copy with tattered pages but each and every word in it was worth the read. I vividly remember flying through the book. I was intrigued, skipped my meals and just sat with this book till it was over. And I read it several times again in the future.

“All the reading she had done had given her a view of life that they had never seen.”

I really liked this book for all the important themes it explored and the way everything was portrayed. The characters were properly fleshed out and developed. The plot is interesting and kept me hooked. Everything about this book was amazing, and if you haven't read it, you need to read it now.

I cannot properly review this book, but I have read it so many times in the past. It was my comfort read in a way. I'm just going to gush instead.

“From then on, Matilda would visit the library only once a week in order to take out new books and return the old ones. Her own small bedroom now became her reading-room and there she would sit and read most afternoons, often with a mug of hot chocolate beside her.”

Matilda as a character taught me that you don't have to fit it. Everyone doesn't need to like you for you to be happy in life. She taught me that you don't need to be dependent on others to act on something. She taught me that it is ok to not be ok, and she taught me to be fierce, brave and do what you must to bring yourself joy, but never at the cost of another person's happiness.

“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”

Mrs. Honey's character was an inspiration for me when I first read the book. I aspired to be like her, helpful and generous. I do not know if I achieved that, but I would say her character was one of my first role models in my life.

“What she needed was just one person, one wise and sympathetic grown-up who could help her.”

Mrs. Honey taught me that everyone goes through their own struggles in life. You don't know what the other person is facing, but you can be their strength. You can show them kindness and gratitude, and you can let them know they are loved.

“There aren’t many funny bits in Mr Tolkien either,’ Matilda said.
‘Do you think that all children’s books ought to have funny bits in them?’ Miss Honey asked.
‘I do,’ Matilda said. ‘Children are not so serious as grown-ups and love to laugh.”

Matilda's family taught me, that there will be people in your life who may not approve of you. They may not like how you behave, they may not like that element about you that makes you you. And that's ok. Improving yourself for the better is one thing, but these characters taught me that you do not have to change yourself to please others. You do not have to change who you are. You can still be you.

“There is little point in teaching anything backwards. The whole object of life, Headmistress, is to go forwards.”

They taught me that just because someone is an adult, that doesn't mean that every single thing they do or say is right.

“I'm right and you're wrong, I'm big and you're small, and there's nothing you can do about it.”

This book was a huge part of my life. If it wasn't for Matilda, my life would have been very different now. I might have still learned these lessons, but in a different way. This is a book I treasure with all my heart, and I am so thankful to Roald Dahl for writing it.

“Matilda said, "Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it's unbelievable...”

DISCLAIMER- All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own, and are with no intention to offend anyone. If you feel offended by my reviews, let me know how I can fix it.

How I Rate-
1 star- Hardly liked anything/ was disappointed
2 star- Had potential but did not deliver/ was disappointed
3 stars- Was ok but could have been better/ was average / Enjoyed a lot but something was missing
4 stars- Loved a lot but something was missing
5 stars- Loved it/ new favourite
Profile Image for Mariel.
667 reviews · 1,072 followers
November 6, 2010
"You chose books and I chose looks." Matilda's mom kills me. I chose looks. I like to look smart too, though. In high school my bro's friends would pick on me for owning so many books. I pretended to be dumb like Matilda and said I hadn't read any of the books and they were trophies to make me look smart. That answer was apparently the right thing to say (probably about the only time I've ever said the right thing either. If it is right to say either like eye-ther I said it like eee-thur, and so forth). (Scary glimpse into my mind, I conciously pronounce it both ways so I'll have a percentage chance of getting it right.)

One of my favorite childhood books. I can't remember anything good about grade school that wasn't reading Roald Dahl (and a few other not-Roald-Dahl-peoples, to be fair *mutters*). My other memories are stuff like getting puked on and having to wear (all day!) nasty clothes from the '70s from the lost and found. I remember this boy my twin and I absolutely loathed 'cause he ate tuna fish sandwiches with his mouth open (yuck!). We'd go home at the end of the day and pool stories of the day about nasty stuff like that. One of the classes we were allowed to share (public school systems apparently believe in seperating twins. Bastards. It's not like we were gonna form a group and hate people together...oh, wait) was English class. I loved it when Lauren got her turn to read aloud. She did the best ever Matilda's mom. My favorite characters were the nasty ones like Matilda's parents. The funny nasty ones. Trunchbull was disgusting. She actually kept kids in an iron maiden type thing. Vicious! I love Roald Dahl. He'd have hated tuna fish sandwiches and that disgusting '80s fad of "a train going through a tunnel", fo' sho.

I can't believe the big deal made about margarine versus butter. My mom was permanently on a diet and I cannot drink real milk to this day (yes, I know that skim milk is basically white water). Same deal for margarine. I might not have ever had real butter. So what if Miss Honey had real butter? She had food! That also appealed to me greatly as a kid, 'cause we were not allowed to have anything that might tempt my mother away from her diets (she broke them in secret and hid the evidence. Meanie). I remember reading Matilda and getting hungry over all the food stuff. The Twits didn't make me hungry (my bird is shooting me nervous glances right about now, in case I get any pie making ideas). Roald Dahl wouldn't have starved his kids 'cause he wanted to look hot for book jacket photo shoots.

p.s. The Twits is my favorite Roald Dahl book.
p.s.s. James and the Giant Peach is also really great. The only time I didn't hate my classmates (we had feuds over The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) was when we related to loving Roald Dahl. Except they sucked at reading aloud so I really did still hate their guts.
Profile Image for Samra Yusuf.
60 reviews · 402 followers
February 8, 2017
My first review in 2017!
Matilda,my most beloved character and reason for my insatiable love for children's classics
I've read it quite countless times,listened to audio version while in most shitty mood,have adored it every time but never came up with a word to say on it.
Well,today I heard it in my way back to home,and i thought to make it reviewed at long last!
The exceptional Matilda is about a smart, easily infuriated little girl who is misunderstood by her parents and loathed by the school's headmistress. On the other hand her kind and generous teacher, Miss Honey, thinks she is a brilliant academic genius. Matilda has a number of excellent schemes in her head to teach her nasty parents and headmistress a lesson.
This description somewhat sounds like a paper summery(i think),but this is the way this is.
I am most inept in writing reviews of classics i guess hmm.

Well,The book, is definitely one of Roald Dahl’s best books. Such a heart-warming tale of a young girl, living a tough life, and finding a way to come out of it. Dahl takes a tough scenario, and uses it to make it one of the most enchanting stories ever. I’m quite sure that children living sad lives might feel a wee bit empowered reading about Matilda. Even other wise, it is a lovely tale. One that makes you smile and cheer for Matilda as she gets the better of the evil people around her.
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