By Roald DahlSo 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.
Matilda, published in1988, is one of the last books Dahl wrote before his death in 1990, and despite his wonderful success as a children’s author, it was one of the most difficult books for him to write. It is hard to imagine that’s true since reading the book is so incredibly effortless. But his years of labor paid off, because Matilda is one of his masterpieces.
Matilda is the titular character of the book. She’s five-years-old. She’s a little small for her age. And she’s absolutely brilliant. By the time she was four and a half, she had read all of the children’s books at her public library, and when she finally started school, she was way ahead of all the other children in her class. Despite her intelligence and kindness, both her parents and the school’s headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, think Matilda is a nuisance. But Matilda isn’t the type of girl who lets that get to her. She learns to make the best of her situation and to always stand up for herself no matter what.
If you’ve ever felt alone, reading Matilda makes you feel like Roald Dahl just gets you. He’s playful and funny, and you can almost see his eyes twinkling mischievously while reading his books. He understands feeling lonely or under-appreciated, and he understands the power and friendship a book can hold. He particularly understands children—what makes them laugh, what makes them sad. For children living in a world full of adults who have forgotten what it’s like to be a child, that’s what makes Dahl’s books so magical.
That’s also what makes his stories so timeless. It’s one thing to understand people, but it’s another thing entirely to take their thoughts and feelings and weave them into beautiful heart-warming stories like Matilda. The human condition will never change, and at the heart of all his stories, Dahl writes about people’s thoughts and their feelings. And those stories aren’t just for children; they’re for everyone. Whether you’re a child or an adult or somewhere in between, Matilda will always be a safe bet when you’re in the mood to read something pleasantly delightful. Matilda will always be there waiting to slip her hand into yours and go discover the magic of books together.