I’m a bit late in writing/publishing this post, I should have done it yesterday but due to some wine at my work’s Christmas party and the need to buy every item of food for sale at the supermarket before they sold out meant I was unable to satisfactorily write this yesterday. I can see how the supermarkets do run out of food this time of year as I have bought so much more food than I could ever possibly eat in one week. I’m sure I’ll manage to stuff it all in some how!
I really struggled with this particular challenge, although the subjects do seem to be getting harder as I work my way through them and this one and the next one were quite tough. I can think of quite a few books that have enjoyable moments or memorable scenes but trying to think of a book that evokes pure happiness above all other emotions was hard. I find books funny or thought-provoking or sometimes just plain confusing, but I found I had to regress to my childhood when emotions came in simpler forms to find a book that fitted the criteria.
I can’t remember when I first read this book but I’m pretty sure I was old enough to read it myself rather than be read to, but I may be wrong. I think I had already read Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits and Danny, Champion of the World, so as a young child I was familiar with Roald Dahl’s work, however this book stood out for me in my childhood. I always struggle to remember much detail about my childhood, especially the tv shows I watched or the books I read, but I can remember the story line for this book pretty well even after all these years. For anyone who hasn’t read this book, please find a family member under the age of ten and read this to them; you will both be completely captivated with the magic of this book. There is something about this book that has stayed with me over the years and it is just such a fantastic display of Roald Dahl’s imagination and also Quentin Blake’s illustrations bring the story to life. Others can say what they like about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I believe this is by far Roald Dahl’s best work. I don’t want to talk too much about the story line as I have the pleasure of reading this book again for my Top 100 books challenge so instead I will tell you why I chose this as a book that makes me happy.
There is no other way to put it: Matilda is just a delight to read. For a children’s book it actually has a proper story line as well, it isn’t just one story as such then it finishes with a moral learnt, there are plot twists and new characters introduced as the book goes on. You would think that a book where the protagonist is a little girl who is extremely intelligent for her age might be hard for a child to relate to or a hard character to love. but the way Matilda is presented in the first few chapters of the book I can’t help but fall under her spell. You would also think that a book about child neglect would be sad and difficult for a child to read but the comedy element in this book is just so; the balance is perfect between portraying the realities of Matilda’s life and lightening the tone with humour or a funny anecdote. It helps that Matilda’s intelligence allows the reader to feel that she always has the upper hand, no matter how badly she is treated at home and the fact that there are adults outside of her family that care for Matilda means that the reader would never feel sorry for her for long. I only have to read one chapter of this book, just at random, and it would lighten my mood instantly. This book is definitely a cure for any bad mood, from melancholy to a childish sulk, and that is why I have crowned it the ultimate book to make you ridiculously happy, no matter how old you are.