genre: children's fiction
Matilda is an actual genius. Reading novels as a small child, doing incredible math figures in her head, she's a child any parent would be thrilled to raise. Any parents except Matilda's parents. And between Matilda's horrible parents and the horrible headmistress at her school, poor Matilda would be living in a bleak and loveless world if it wasn't for her beloved teacher, Ms. Honey. Ms. Honey sees everything wonderful in Matilda and when miraculous things begin happening, Matilda knows who she can trust.
So, I know not everyone loves Matilda, but I DO! I love her spunk and her empathy. I love her genius schemes to exact revenge on her over-the-top parents. I read this one out loud to my 9 year old son (and my 12 year old was clearly listening in and enjoying ;) and he both howled with laughter and worried about both Matilda and Ms. Honey. Dahl is a genius at empowering children and putting them in a position to give themselves control in situations where most children would feel helpless. My son cannot get enough of his books and they are quite fun to read aloud - even as they occasionally allow you to think about some pretty deep things. There is abuse in this book, but it is so CLEARLY abuse and the way it's resolved is so fun and clever, I liked that we could take a second and talk about the hard but then laugh at the clever. Plus, I happen to know that the movie adaption of this one is particularly fun.