Sunday, April 26, 2009

Matilda (RDRM #3)

Matilda is the third book I have completed for the Roald Dahl Reading Marathon (RDRM) and it is my favourite! I started reading it at 11 PM (Saturday) and finished at 1.18 AM (Sunday). Snuggled up in my reading chair, I did feel a little sleepy and feared that I might not be able to finish the book but the moment I got started, I knew completing the book would be a breeze. It is quite impossible to resist a book that begins with the chapter "The Reader of Books". . .

By Roald Dahl (Author's Website)
Publisher: Puffin Books
Published: 2007
ISBN-13: 9780141322667
256 pages

Page 35: 'I don't want to know what it's about,' Mr Wormwood barked. 'I'm fed up with your reading anyway. Go and find yourself something useful to do.' With frightening suddenness he now began ripping the pages out of the book in handfuls and throwing them in the waste-paper basket.

Like Matilda, I froze with horror upon reading that. Matilda's father is ripping out pages from a book that belongs to the library. Quoting the back cover of the book, "Matilda Wormwood's father is a mean crooked crook. And her mother's just plain stupid. They think Matilda's a nuisance who should watch more TV and read fewer books!" I simply cannot imagine having parents such as them and I would probably go berserk if I were in Matilda's shoes. The thing is, Matilda is a calm girl and instead of reacting like how a normal girl would (i.e. sulking and crying), she begins plotting suitable punishments particularly toward her father.

Matilda Wormwood is a genius but remains humble. At the age of three, she teaches herself to read and by four, she is reading fast and well. Since her parents discourage reading (horror of horrors!), she resorts to library books. She goes to the library without their knowledge when her mother goes for her bingo sessions on weekdays. She becomes acquainted with the librarian, Mrs Phelps. Mrs Phelps is fascinated by Matilda and her reading prowess seeing that she is just slightly over four years old.

I am definitely with Matilda on this:
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.
The story gets even more interesting with the introduction of her lovely teacher, Miss Honey. Her teacher tries her best to talk sense into the horrible headmistress (Miss Trunchbull) and Matilda's parents about Matilda's extraordinary capabilities in class to match her development, but it all falls onto deaf ears. Miss Honey has a secret and Matilda plays an important role in helping her. There is a common link in all the three stories I have read so far and they all have bullies in them: James's aunts in James and the Giant Peach, the terrible giants in The BFG, and Miss Trunchbull right here in Matilda.

Inspired by Matilda's recommendation, I am going to dig out my copy of The Secret Garden from the TBR pile and get started as soon as I am done with this reading marathon. There is a whole list of authors that she has read such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, and many more! Matilda was made into a film in 1996 so I will be looking out for it; I would not want to miss out on watching it!

I'll press on with the last two books tomorrow. Next in queue: The Witches.

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