Saturday, March 5, 2016

20books16 Challenge #3 - A Book Recommendation from Matilda

As a kid, I always read books with main characters similar to myself, which is why I enjoyed the silliness of Junie B. Jones, the curiosity of Nancy Drew, and most of all, the book nerd in Roald Dahl’s fictional character, Matilda.

But while I simply admired Matilda’s genius, I was overly fascinated with her extensive and mature reading list. This is why, as an adult, I’m still hung up on it. I’ve chosen to read a book on young Matilda’s list for our 20 books in 2016 book challenge – a book I heard about from a fictional character.

Set in Victorian England, Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy is considered a classic. As I started reading, I realized quickly that this book contains some seriously heavy content for a young girl to be reading – even if she is fictional. Dahl definitely wanted his readers to grasp Matilda’s maturity.

In the book, beautiful and naïve Tess Durbeyfield is seduced by an upper class man, which leads to a child out of wedlock. This event makes her poor life even more difficult as she falls in love with another man only to be shunned by him, becomes entangled in a murder, and eventually dies a brutal death.

Like I said, a heavy reading topic for a girl in elementary school.

Though Tess of the D’Urbervilles contains some intense material and difficult language, I do not regret reading this one. It reveals the twisted nature of society’s rules and the condescending and hypocritical attitudes of men towards women in Victorian England. Matilda has many books on her list like this one with strong female leads, including Jane Eyre.

So thanks, Matilda, for the book suggestion for our 20 Books in 2016 challenge.

(In honor of e-book week, I would also like to add that this was the first book I read completely in e-book format.)

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