Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Summary (from Goodreads):
Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote more than forty books, none remains so popular as her miraculous and magical masterpiece, The Secret Garden. Has any story ever dared to begin by calling its heroine, “the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen” and, just a few sentences later, “as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived?” Mary Lennox is the “little pig,” sent to Misselthwaite Manor, on the Yorkshire moors, to live with her uncle after her parents die of cholera. There she discovers her sickly cousin Colin, who is equally obnoxious and imperious. Both love no one because they have never been loved. They are the book’s spiritual secret gardens, needing only the right kind of care to bloom into lovely children.

Mary also discovers a literal secret garden, hidden behind a locked gate on her uncle’s estate, neglected for the ten years since Colin’s birth and his mother’s death. Together with a local child named Dickon, Mary and Colin transform the garden into a paradise bursting with life and color. Through their newfound mutual love of nature, they nurture each other, until they are brought back to health and happiness.


(2nd book for The Classics Club)
 Edition Read:
Barnes and Noble Classics Series (ebook) - $4.49
(Grabbed this one when they were offering up several B&N classic nookbooks for free.) 
This book is in the public domain*. You can grab it for free at:
-The Patricia Clark Memorial Library on MobileRead .epub .mobi
 *Public Domain in the United States. If you are in another country, please check your country's public domain laws before downloading. Thanks! :)

Bit of Background :
This one was (sort of) a cheat book for me.
Back when I was in the 4th or 5th grade (circa 1993-1995), I became obsessed with this book. I watched all the movies/tv specials (including that weird one where Mary and Colin aren't cousins and they get married when they are older). I used to take this key to the china cabinet and wear it on a string around my neck because it looked like what I imagined the key looked like. I'm not entirely sure why I liked it so much. I don't like gardening – never have. Maybe the idea of just having a really secret place all my own. Who knows.

That said... It's kind of hard to review something I read several times (and was obsessed with for an entire year). Granted, it has been a while, well over a decade, since I had previously read it. So I'm just going to jot down what sticks out in my mind.

 -Excellent characterization. The characters are very well fleshed out. You might not like all of them (especially Colin starting out), but for the most part they feel real.
-Lovely backdrops. The descriptions of the setting is amazing. Burnett is a master at bringing them to life.
 -A very quick book, but it doesn't feel rushed.

It still maintains much of the magic and charm it did back then. A very lovely book. Highly recommended to all.


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