Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to School...

Going back to school is often like walking into a haunted house. Monstrous bullies lurk on the playground. Threatening teachers tower over your head, rulers in hand. Cackling witch-girls leer from the locker-room walls, waiting for the next easy target. For some, going back to school is a time of excitement, filled with new clothes, new kicks, and old friends. For others, it's a nightmare.

In honor of terrorized children everywhere, I give you Matilda.

Purchase your copy of Matilda here.

This book, by Roald Dahl, refuses to candy coat the scholastic experience. In fact, it amplifies every single aspect of school culture that children might find frightening. For example, Miss Trunchbull, the school's principal (who most definitely is not your "pal"), is the worst of the worst.

Befriending Students.

She mentally and physically abuses her charges and rules the entire school, teachers included, with an iron fist. But the good thing about Matilda is that Miss Trunchbull gets hers in the end. And her demise is hilarious. Dahl deftly strips his characters down to their worst attributes with a humor that resonates across generations and cultures.  I got a ridiculous amount of satisfaction as an adult reader out of Miss Trunchbull's downfall. Call me a bad person. I don't care. If you liked Dolores Umbridge getting her comeuppance in the Harry Potter books, you will love Matilda. It's a children's novel with teeth.

So, get back to class. Wrap your knuckles around Dahl's book before Miss Trunchbull raps them for you.

Next post, the crooked house (with a crooked mouse).

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