The Secret Garden

Title: The Secret Garden

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Publisher: Penguin Threads

Release Date: November 2011 (first published 1911)

Source: Mayersche Buchhandlung

Rating: 5/5

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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? (Goodreads)

The Secret Garden quickly became my favourite story when I first saw the film as a young child.  Ever since, I’ve watched at least once a year.  It’s my go-to movie and yet, I’ve never read the novel until now.

Having seen the movie, I knew the story of Mary Lennox.  Of course while reading, my imagination conjured up images of the actors, of the movie sets, and all of that, but the novel filled in all of the gaps the film had left empty.  Everything we don’t see or know from watching the movie is answered and addressed in the novel.  I found that there was an added depth to the story.  The story, the characters, the world of Misselthwaite Manor, is filled in with rich, lively detail that is not necessarily available in the movie.

This review seems to be more of a comparison between the novel and the film, but in all seriousness, I don’t see why you wouldn’t love this novel.  It is such a great story, albeit a sad one at first.  Burnett’s writing reignites the light of childhood and your imagination is able to run wild with Mary and Dickon through the moors of Misselthwaite.  The language might be a little tricky because a lot of it is written to imitate the Yorkshire accent of the community, but you get used to it really quickly.

Overall, reading The Secret Garden as an adult was a great experience.  It felt like an old friend, evoked a sense of nostalgia and familiarity I’ve rarely experienced.  It reminded me of the magic, innocence, and whimsicality of childhood.  It was a fantastic, easy and quick read.  How could you say no?

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