The Society of Readers Across the Hudson (SARAH) Book Club met this week in unusual fashion. We went virtual, meeting via video conference to discuss the childhood favorite of “Matilda” by Roald Dahl.
Many of us had read “Matilda” as children and enjoyed the reread of it, though some of us had a different perspective on it, now that we were older. I think there was one person who thought that book was inappropriate for children given the child abuse and neglect that was depicted in the book. But as another countered, who has had experience with child abuse, it is a book of wishful thinking. And I have to agree, as you can only hope that Matilda’s environment would only get better. Thank goodness for Ms. Honey!
I think most bookworms relate to Matilda because of her voracious love for books. Though, some of us were skeptical about her age. Don’t get me wrong, there are some young kids that learn to read early. But we found it hard to believe that a 5-year-old would not only be able to find her way to the library by herself, but be able to read the books that she was reading at such a young age. Granted, in the book, she depicted as a genius, but still, we thought it more likely for a 7-year-old.
Many of us had also seen the movie with Danny Devito and Mara Wilson and we were all in agreement that the movie adaptation did the book its justice. I must say that most say of the adaptations for Roald Dahl’s books are pretty good. Some that come to mind are “Witches” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” though it has to be the Gene Wilder movie version. The one thing I enjoyed about the movie more than the book was the section where Matilda learns about her secret power. I thought it was very vague in the book but it was so well depicted in the movie. I have to watch it whenever it’s on. It always makes me feel better.
We then discussed how “Matilda” is also one of the few children’s book that has a strong female main characters and listed some others, including my favorite, “Harriet the Spy.”
Overall, I thought it was a good discussion considering the circumstances and I think we all appreciated such a light read for the month. As we don’t know how long this “lockdown” will continue, next month, we all get to read a nonfiction book of our choosing. Now what to read?