I’ve always been a bookworm, as far as I can remember.
I grew up reading books by American writers, like Judy Blume, Lois Lowry and Carolyn Keene as well as the good ol’ British ones, especially the unforgettable, heartwarming oeuvre of Roald Dahl’s canon in children’s fiction.
I particularly like Dahl’s work as through it all, he shows us, both kids and adults alike, that there is an Inner Child in all of us.
Dahl appeals to the humane side of his readers which is why his work is so genuine, so real.
Matilda is one of my all-time favourite reads, for this reason and for something else. Dahl reflects his own understanding and perception of women through the portrayal of the charismatic enigma that is Matilda Wormwood.
The very fact that a 5-year old girl recognises her exceptional level of sensitivity, intelligence, intellect and maturity and yet remains modestly oblivious throughout the story is something we should pay attention to.
How often do we brush our true selves under the carpet?
How often do we underestimate ourselves- or vice versa?
How often do we stumble upon insecurities- which we don’t know to deal with- and could very much do well without?
Matilda uses her special powers to get rid of her demonic headteacher, Miss Trunchbull. She also followed her heart and chose to live with the innocent, empathetic and kind Miss Honey, instead of her ignorant, duplicitous parents.
I’ve always been fascinated by Matilda’s special powers, which I now realise are her determination and willpower to rise above the condescending generalisation; to stand up for what she believes in, to accept and value who and what she is.
Like most of us, I tend to overlook my good qualities and moan about my weaknesses- both the genuine and perceived ones!
But then, I think of Matilda and reassert my thoughts- by switching off the natter going on inside my head.
I believe there’s a Matilda in and in all of us too.
Dahl realised this, do you?