October 08, 2011

The Secret Garden by Frances Hogdson Burnett

I really enjoyed this book and it brought back memories of when I had first watched the movie. It was definitely charming, and when combined with the illustrations of Tasha Tudor, a very nice read.

Mary is a little girl who has grown up in India but must move to her Uncle's when her parents die of cholera. She has been spoiled all her life and can be quite contrary at times. This starts to change when she reaches England and is left to explore by herself, and in doing so, finds a secret garden. She loves the garden and when a young boy named Dickon, who is a marvelous animal charmer, begins to help her, she can feel herself changing and becoming more likable. All is not well at the manor though because in the middle of the night, alerted by crying, she finds her young invalid cousin Colin, who has been bedridden from birth. He grows to like Mary and she and Dickon sneak him out to let the garden begin working its magic on Colin as well.

The characters change awfully fast in this novel. They start out rather bratty but quickly the garden does something to them. I must confess that throughout the whole novel I wasn't a big fan of Colin. I just found him annoying. Mary was a little better. I was disappointed to see that a lot of the characters that I thought were a big part of the novel (like Dickon's sister) slowly start to vanish by the end of the book when I would have liked to see more of them.

The writing was nice and it is a good story for children to relate to. There are some things that could be considered offensive written about India and its people, but this book was also written in the early 1900's when some things were more acceptable. It should be read and taught with this in mind. For plot it is a story with good morals and even an adult could enjoy the story line.

I do like this book and while it has a few flaws, overall it makes for nice reading. It definitely makes me want to seek out the movie and watch it again.

The Secret Garden
Copyright 1911
358 pages

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