I have a confession about this one.
I didn’t actually read it.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I have never, in my entire life, picked up a physical copy of this book and read it through start to finish.
Instead, I listened to it on Audible, narrated by the lovely and brilliant Kate Winslet.
Usually, I insist on reading a book before I would even think of getting the Audible version of it. (For one thing, audiobooks are expensive.) But they had a sale, and I was weak. Can books on sale be my weakness? I think that’s allowed.
It had better be allowed. Otherwise, I might be in trouble.
Anyway, if you haven’t heard the audio version of Matilda, please go buy it immediately and listen to it. It was incredible. Kate Winslet is a brilliant and wonderfully expressive reader, and her interpretation of this lovely little story was beyond charming. I was hooked from the first chapter.
As most of us probably know, Matilda is the story of a brilliant little girl growing up in a family that is—how shall we say—less brilliant. Her father is a crooked car salesman, and her mother plays bingo every afternoon. And so, little Matilda is left alone every day to fend for herself and find her own amusement. And every day, little Matilda walks herself down to the village library to sit in the big armchair that is much too large for her and read a book. Within a few weeks, she has read all of the children’s books the library has to offer, and the librarian offers her another, larger book. By Charles Dickens.
And so the classical education of a five year old begins. Matilda reads everything that she can get her hands on, and by the time she enters school, she is better read than many adults.
Miss Honey, her lovely young school teacher, is enchanted with Matilda’s potential, but thanks to a bullying headmistress—a woman as vicious as she is intimidating—Matilda is confined to the bottom class. With nothing to challenge her young mind, she quickly grows bored, and strange things begin to happen.
Thus begins one of my new favorite children’s books. Matilda was charming and witty, and in some ways, went far beyond the reaches of a regular children’s book. I found it a wonderful new treasure to add to my list of books read this year. Hopefully, one of these days, I’ll be able to sit down and read the book for myself.
Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy Kate Winslet’s version.
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