'''The Full Matilda''' is a 2004 novel by David Haynes.
The Housewrights have a family legacy of service, their father, Jacob, having served as the venerable black majordomo to a rich and powerful U.S. senator in UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC But each successive generation scoffs at the service legacy, gravitating toward the catering business but anxious to drop the subservience of the serving class. Matilda Housewright, the strong-minded and willful daughter of Jacob, provides the focus for this novel which takes place from TheRoaringTwenties to The TurnOfTheMillennium. After Jacob dies, Matilda's brother, Martin, embarks on a catering business and cuts out Matilda, leaving her on the sidelines. But her impervious nature and impeccable taste keep her at the center of the family as Martin's sons are sent to get the full-Matilda treatment. Alternating between the accounts of Matilda and her brother and the third-person perspectives of Martin's sons and grandson, this vibrant family portrait tracks the rise of the Housewrights to a multimillion-dollar food distribution company. Along the way, it traces changes in sensibilities as each generation puts its own stamp on the meaning and manner of service.
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Possibly an in-universe example. The men in her life don't understand why she is so attached to the house her father left her, especially when the neighborhood starts going bad, and that Victorian/Edwardian era lifestyle but they don't know that [[spoiler: she had sex with the senator when she was 16 to get her father that house, and she is probably trying to live the lifestyle she never got to live as a servant.]]
* AmbiguouslyBrown: Martin's grandson Jacob.
* AntiquatedLinguistics: Matilda talks like this, and her sections of the novel are partially like this. JustifiedTrope in that her father spoke like this and taught her to differentiate herself from the lower class African-Americans.
* ArcWords: "Housewright Maxim #__"
* BornInTheWrongCentury: Played with, though it's really more a case of "Born into the wrong race during the wrong century". Even though when Matilda was young people lived the rich high-class lifestyle she so embraces, by the time she was a teenager (around the Great Depression) that life was dying out. However, until her death in [[spoiler: 2003]] she still lives like an old Victorian woman.
* ButNotTooBlack: This is discussed when Matilda says that many of the darker skinned blacks in the city didn't prosper as much as her lighter skinned family did.
* CivilRightsMovement: [[spoiler: Martin's son David is killed at a Black Panther Party riot.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Matilda, of the non-comedic variety.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Matilda's family being African-American servants to a white senator in and of itself can be considered this. This is even discussed when Matilda talks about how later on many people quit having live in servants and started hiring day maids and limo services (as opposed to having a driver and a live-in maid). TheReveal in the book is that Matilda at the age of 16 [[spoiler: slept with the senator (who had been showing an...interest in her since she was 13) to secure her father a house of his own, and nobody else knew but her and the senator.]] That scenario could probably happen now, but eventually it would come out and the senator would probably be arrested, whereas back then nobody would care because she was just a poor black girl. It would be more plausible now if she were older, but it still would cause controversy.
* DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife: The younger Jacob.
* DontYouDarePityMe: Matilda says this verbatim.
* EthnicMenialLabor: The Housewrights.
* TheGenerationGap: This is first shown between Matilda and Martin's son David (a baby boomer) when he takes her to a Black Panther Party meeting. She doesn't understand the "bushes" on everyone's head (aka afros) and still calls black people "coloreds"
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Matilda to get her father's house.
* IronLady: Matilda
* LegacyOfService: The Housewrights, who go from being domestics and cooks to being caterers to owning a food distribution service.
* LieBackAndThinkOfEngland: [[spoiler: DefiedTrope. Matilda says this phrase verbatim and says she refused to do it when she was having sex with the senator, even though the trope is probably mostly played straight.]]
* MaidenAunt: Matilda fits this trope to a T, in fact the book almost deconstructs this trope.
* PleaseIWillDoAnything / AintTooProudToBeg: Matilda does this so that [[spoiler: the senator will not move back to the South, crushing her father's dreams of owning a nice house. She ends up sleeping with the senator.]]
* TheRoaringTwenties: and TheGreatDepression, and WorldWarTwo, TheSixties, TheSeventies, TheEighties, TheNineties, and The TurnOfTheMillennium. In fact the only decades of the 20th century not discussed were the ones before Matilda was born.
* SecondPersonNarration: Matilda's section. It is not revealed who "you" is.
* SiblingRivalry: Between Martin and Matilda, and [[spoiler: after David dies between Rodrick and David.]]
* SpotOfTea: A dramatic version at the end of the book, in which the specific Houswright way to make tea is described and after which [[spoiler: Matilda is implied to be close to death.]]
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: What Matilda did to keep the house. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essie_Mae_Washington-Williams Essie Mae Washington-Williams]] was born to 22-year-old South Carolina governor and later senator Strom Thurmond and his 16 year old black servant, Carrie Butler. She did not reveal who her father was until his death in 2003.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Martin when he starts his own catering business.