Children, Fiction, Reviews, Uncategorized

The Secret Garden

By Frances Hodgson Burnett

2998

When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?

Though I’ve seen the cartoon version of this book, I haven’t read The Secret Garden until this year. Which is quite the tragedy because I really enjoyed this book!

Perhaps it’s a good thing I didn’t read it until now. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed or appreciated it as much if I’d read it as a child or at a younger age.

I loved the description of Mary as being this cross, horrible little child at the beginning who ends up in this dreary place. But as explores her new homes, discovers the secret garden, and makes new friends, Mary blossoms as well as any flower.

The thing I probably liked most about this book is something I wouldn’t have really appreciated when I was younger.

Slight Spoilers (but I think everyone already knows this book):

 

Mary and Dickon help Colin heal by encouraging him to think positive. And in the book, by thinking positively, Colin heals himself and is able to walk again.

END SPOILERS

 

I think you’ll agree that the following is a pretty deep thought for a children’s book:

“One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live… surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.

“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”

Many, many adults struggle with this idea of a positivity. To find it stuck between the pages of a book from 1911 is quite remarkable.

I think I’m going to do a blog post soon with a sort of imaginary children’s bookshelf of what books are a must-read for children — The Secret Garden will definitely be included!

Fiction, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I’d Read as a Kid

This week’s TTT is a freebie, so I chose one theme from the archives. TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

-I read this for the first time in high school French class. I love it so much. I never even knew about it until that class, but I wish that I had.

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

-I read this for the first time in college. I wish I’d read it in middle or high school. This was the kind of book I needed to read then.

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

-Still never read this book, though it’s kind of a quintessential classic for children.

4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

-I recently moved out of my apartment complex. At that complex, people had a habit of setting their unwanted things near the elevator on each floor. I recently found this book, along with a few others, and it made me think how I never read it as a kid.

5. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

-Same as above.

6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

-Same as above

7. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

-In late high school, I went on a quest to read all of C.S. Lewis’s books in this series. I think I maybe read four. I wish I’d read these when I was younger.

8. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

-I wish I’d read all the books in this series. I’d seen the movie several times over, but never read the book or any of the others set in Oz.

9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

-I wasn’t even familiar with this story until I watched the Johnny Depp film version.

10. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

-Still never read this.