The Matilda Effect

This story is about a girl named Matilda and her grandmother’s journey from England to Sweden. The book emphasizes how women and girls may be treated unfairly, especially in the scientific fields. Matilda wants to be an inventor and loves science. The grandmother (Granny Joss) discovered a planet many years ago, but her boss claimed it was his discovery, and now he is about to be given a Nobel Prize! 

Matilda has also not been given awards, like a science prize in her school, because no one believed a girl could have done what she did. The judges gave the prize to a boy named Thomas Thomas, even though he did his experiment wrong, just because “at least he did it all by himself.” Matilda should clearly have won. 

She soon finds out her grandmother’s discovery was incorrectly credited and decides to go to Sweden to tell the Nobel Prize Committee that Professor Smocks is lying about his “discovery”. Her parents do not allow her to go there, so one night she sneaks out with her grandmother to go to Sweden. Will Matilda be able to get Granny Joss to the Nobel Prize ceremony in time, or will the planet forever be credited to Professor Smocks? They face many challenges along the way, almost dying at some parts, too. 

I like this book because the plot is so intriguing and the author is constantly introducing new characters. It was very interesting to see how each of these characters influenced the story and the characters. They are so different but are all affected in some way by Matilda and Granny Joss.

The “Matilda Effect” is a bias against women, and instead of giving them credit for their achievement(s), it is given to one of their male colleagues instead. This term was first used in 1993 by Margaret W. Rossiter, and named after Matilda Goslyn Gage. Historians had ignored Matilda Gage’s work as well. The title of the book, the storyline and the name of the main character in the story, is a reminder of this bias, ‘The Matilda Effect.

 I would recommend you to read this book if you enjoy science, engineering, or inventing and like a variety of characters. It is a truly enjoyable story and I really liked the plot. I thought that it was important that it emphasized how women and girls are sometimes treated unfairly.

-Peri A.