Book Review – Matilda (At 30)

Matilda At 30
Roald Dahl
Penguin Random House Children
Rating *****

Roald Dahl’s Matilda is nothing less than an icon – of page, screen and stage. Monday 1 October marks 30 years since the beloved book was first published, introducing Matilda Wormwood, her nemesis Miss Trunchbull and her champion Miss Honey. 

30 years on, what would Matilda be doing now? Sir Quentin Blake, who illustrated the original book in 1988, has returned to create striking new images of Matilda aged 30 as an Astrophysicist, World Traveller and Chief Executive of the British Library.


Roald Dahl is still one of my all time favourite authors, the exaggerated characters, vile awful villains and the amazing, brave children who are the heroes. All his stories and characters captured my heart at a young age, I had his entire collection which I would read time and time again. As I got older I read his autobiographies and his adult fiction stories but, Matilda was always a firm favourite of mine.

I was so excited to start reading Matilda again after so many years. The last time I read this book I must have been about 11 or 12. A huge rush of nostalgia swept through me as I got sucked back into the story of the terrible Wormwords, the sweet Miss Honey, the dreaded Miss Trunchbull and of course the intelligent Matilda.

Whilst reading Matilda I felt like Roald Dahl was sweeping me away into his crazy, wonderful world, yet my adult brain kept ruining it for me. At the back of my mind there was a little niggle of how awful Mr and Mrs Wormwood treated Matilda, how they belittle and bully her when she is a sweet, polite child prodigy! The things Miss Trunchbull did to the kids, could you imagine this happening in the world today?! She would be in prison for life. Of course I know this is a kids book and things are exaggerated and I still found it funny and silly, I just found it fascinating how differently my brain clicked over reading this as a 27 year old, than when I read this at 12 years old.

I am probably over thinking things as most adults do, but I still loved re-reading Matilda. There is just something so special about this book, maybe because I relate to her, as in her adoration for reading not the crazy parents and teachers. I love what Matilda stands for being an intelligent girl, standing up to her bullies and tormentors without a fear inside of her, she is polite sweet and kind. A fantastic role model for all children to look up to. This book tells young kids that having a brain isn’t anything to be ashamed of and it can be cool! Also it’s okay to stand up to your bullies, it is not okay to be treated the way Miss Trunchbull was treating the children or how The Wormwoods treated Matilda. One of my favourite parts of the book is when Miss Trunchbull forces Bruce Bogtrotter to eat the giant chocolate cake, not only is is a funny part of the book to read, but he also stands up to The Trunchbull by proving her wrong and has the whole school on his side backing him up. I always loved in Roald Dahl books how the kids were triumphant over the mean adults.

Throughout the book were the infamous Quentin Blake’s illustrations, I loved this so much as my book as a child didn’t have these. I can imagine for younger children as it breaks up a lot of the larger chapters and text. The idea of what Matilda is doing at 30 is also really fun. In my opinion I think she would want to help the world and especially young children, I think she would of set up schools to teach adults and kids to read, maybe set up libraries and really made a difference to children’s education. After all her biggest passion was reading and she looked up to Miss Honey, her teacher.

It was a real delight re-reading Matilda, it has inspired me to re-read more of my childhood favourites, especially more Roald Dahl. I just need to remember to turn off my boring analysing adult brain and try and read them as an innocent child.

What is your favourite part of Matilda? What do you think Matilda would be achieving at 30 years old? I would love to know, so get in touch. Katie x

*Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Books for an advanced copy of Matilda at 30 to read*

5 thoughts on “Book Review – Matilda (At 30)

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