Monday, February 24, 2014

The Secret Garden (Book Review)

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Year: 1911
Genre: Awesome
Reading Level: Intermediate

Plot Summary: Mary Lennox is left orphaned in India after a cholera outbreak, and is sent to live at her uncle's lonely Yorkshire manor.  So far she has lived a spoiled, unpleasant existence, but things start to change for Mary when she explores the manor's gardens.  There is one garden that especially piques her interest, a hidden garden with a tragic past, locked up long ago...

Red Flags: None.

My Rating: A
This is one of my favorite books from my childhood days, I couldn't say how many times I've read it.  As I was reading it this time I realized it's probably the original source for my longtime fascination with moors and England and pet foxes.  

It's been several years since I read it last, and it didn't disappoint!  It's just a lovely reading experience from the rather eerie beginning to the triumphant finish.  Mary is so incredibly sulky and bratty, but she goes through such a great change.  It's natural and gradual, but also exciting to read about.  I sit there thinking, "Ohhhh, Mary, just you try that skipping rope!"  Dickon is my favorite because come on, he is Magical.  I love to read about how the garden is discovered and brought back to life.  It makes me want to roll around on the grass and plant some bulbs and, yes, skip rope. 

Overall, what can I say?  This is a classic piece of children's literature--really just literature, plain and simple.  I'm sure I will be reading it periodically for the rest of my days.  

Memorable quotes:

"At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.  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."--p. 281

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