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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Review of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Overview from A treasured classic from Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden is the story of young Mary Lennox. The newly orphaned girl is sent to live with her uncle and soon discovers many secrets at the estate-among them a neglected garden hidden behind a locked gate she will work to revive with her cousin as well a local boy with a green thumb changing not only the garden, but the lives of everyone as well.

My Review:

This week’s selection is one that I have read before at least twice though I can’t be sure that I have not read it more often. It tells the tale of three young children, beginning with Miss Mary Lennox, who has just recently moved to a large house in Yorkshire after a sudden unexpected illness, has just killed both of her parents.

Mary arrives at the home of her uncle in a foul mood for she has already made up her mind to dislike everyone that she meets. She is described as “yellow” and “sour” by all who meet her but despite herself; her attitude slowly begins to change.

It begins when she encounters her new maid, Martha. She is unlike any other maid that Mary has had before. She tells Mary exactly what she thinks about everything, including herself. Mary had never before considered what other people thought of her. She mostly spent her time considering how much she disliked others but now that the truth was brought to her attention she found it fascinating.

Later things begin to improve for her even more when she meets Dickon, Martha’s younger brother, and finds the key to a secret garden that her uncle and guardian, Mr. Craven has locked up. When she later finds that the source of the crying she hears in the night belongs to a cousin that she didn’t know existed, she looks forward to the day when she can share her secret garden with him as well as Dickon. She believes that the garden will help him recover from his illness.

As you may already know, this book is considered a classic by many people today. There were even a couple of movie versions made. I remember seeing one of them in the 80’s I think when I was growing up. I also found another version on Netflix recently. I hope to watch it sometime in the future.

I remember liking the one from the 80’s. I am not sure if I will like the other one but maybe I post a review of that one as well.

As to the book itself, it is a very interesting book, even for adults. In fact, I’d have a hard time imagining children of today reading since the vocabulary is more advanced than I think many children of today are capable of understanding.

It is also an interesting study in the power of positive thinking. I noticed that much more this time around than I had before. And in the vain, I will close with a quote that illustrates that.

“Two things cannot be in one place
“’Where you tend a rose, my lad,
“’A thistle cannot grow.’” P.198

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