You Are Not Alone

I felt a kinship with Matilda long before I ever read the book, mostly because the movie (named for the title character) came out when I was eight years old and was told by many that I could double for actress Mara Wilson. As an eight-year-old, this really drove me nuts because I didn’t want to look like a famous actress and I had also not seen the movie (and wouldn’t until I was a teenager), so it was with a fair amount of hesitation that I picked up Matilda from my school library two years later.

I was surprised to identify so strongly with this neglected little girl and was also surprised to feel jealous of her as she formed such a close relationship with her teacher when her parents finally allowed her to go to school. I was not moved to tears as my teacher thought (that was a case of pink-eye that stubbornly hid from the adults in my life for several days) but I found the story to be really moving and something easy to identify with. This level of identity came at a time in my life when I was facing a really intense struggle to feel like I fit in anywhere and I was so glad to consider myself to be friends with this little girl who – like me – liked to read and learn, used big words, and generally felt pretty isolated.

I learned from Matilda, much as I learned from Anne, that there is a lot of value in plowing through the crummy parts of life because overall it’s really quite wonderful and worth the long slog in the end.

Photo by Nicolae Rosu on Unsplash

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