Matilda and the BFG by Roald Dahl

These are my reviews of Matilda and the BFG. I don’t have too much to say about these books. It’s a while since I read Matilda, as well, so this is a bit… well it’s something. I did say I’d review all the books I read though, so there we go.


Matilda
Matilda was one of my favourite books as a child. I loved it, so much. It’s about a young girl named Matilda who is extremely intelligent and precocious. She comes from a family where her intellect is seen as important or needful. Her father thinks he’s a genius, her mother ignores her, and they both love her brother more. She starts school under the tyrannical Miss Trunchbull. Matilda decides to kick some ass and right some wrongs.

Thoughts
I loved this book when I was little, and it totally holds up. Also, because Mara Wilson was in the movie I imagined her as Matilda, which is nice.

It was a lot darker than I remembered. I mean I remembered pretty much everything that happened, but I was like… eight, so I don’t think I took it all in. Basically when her father misbehaves she literally just decides to punish him to teach him a lesson. For instance she puts her mother’s peroxide bleach stuff in her father’s hair gel so his hair changes colour and also falls out. She also glues his hat to his head so they have to cut it off, hair and all. This is also her tactic with the principal, who don’t get me wrong, is a psychopath, but Matilda’s behaviour is a bit creepy. I would like to say I support her, and she’s entirely justified, and I realize that it’s to show a kid getting back at authority figures when she has little to no power. It’s just a bit creepy. What if she decides this is how she’ll raise her children? This is how you can tell I’m not a child anymore.

I love the way it looked at how children are powerless to strike back when their authority figures, parents, teachers, so on, are cruel to them. They have very little recourse, especially when no other grown-ups will stand up for them, and the only way Matilda finds to fight back is to develop telekinesis and threaten her principal with a crime she might have committed. It’s also great to see children fighting back.

I love that Matilda is bookish, I love that she’s nerdy, and a bit awkward, and weird. I was very bookish and nerdy. I say was. I am bookish and nerdy.

Anyway. I loved Matilda, it’s amazing. Roald Dahl is a genius. He writes beautifully for children. I feel like he really knows children and how to write for them.


The BFG
Onto the BFG. This was also a favourite of mine when I was a kid. I was a huge Roald Dahl fan. I should read more. Anyway. This is about Sophie, who can’t sleep one night, because moonlight. She sneaks up to the window, looks out quickly, and sees a giant. He sees her too, and therefore has to take her away. She is told that she now has to live with him because she knows about giants. She learns about the other giants who like to eat humans and with the BFG she devises a plan to stop them.

Thoughts
I love the BFG, it’s great.

I think that when I was a kid I felt like it told a story that lasted for weeks, and actually it only lasts like three days. A lot of things happens in that time, it’s packed with action.

I loved how philosophical it was. The BFG explains to Sophie what the other giants are doing and when she categorically writes them off as cruel and disgusting he challenges her notions and suggests she sees it from different perspectives, and how are giants so different from people. While he completely disagrees with what the man-eating giants are doing he launches quite a lot of interesting philosophical ideas.

I liked how the BFG spoke. He sort of moves his words around and jumbles his letters, and it’s really cool. I don’t know why I enjoy it so much, I just do.

I also really like this fairy tale aspect, other than the fact that there’s a giant. Essentially Sophie decides that the best way to stop the giants is to go to the Queen of England, because she would know how to fix it. I like the faith she has in the Queen. Obviously the faith is well placed, because it’s a fairy tale, but I just really love that she sees a huge problem, and thinks; the queen will know.

I love the humour of the RAF soldiers who are sent out to capture the giants. And I love that while he makes the queen a sort of hero Roald Dahl also makes fun of authority figures by making the head of the RAF and the head of the army into pompous, weird, cowards. Roald Dahl is great.

Finally

I love Roald Dahl. I thought both books were lovely, funny, and they were delightful. And so much sentimental joy. I’ll need more Roald Dahl.