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Review: The Secret Garden By Frances Hodgson Burnett

The secret garden, a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1911, is a well-known classic in youth literature. The film adaptation was made cinematographically in 1993. This summer, it will be back on the big screen. It is available in a variety of editions at the bookstores’ shop windows. I chose to purchase the complete edition Alfaguara Clasicos, beautifully illustrated by Elisabeth Moreno, despite so many options.

I hadn’t seen the entire 1990s film until now. I also had just read a chapter in Goodnight Stories for Stressed Adults, which has amazing editing. The history. The Secret Garden has the typical elements of this genre of novel. A ten-year old girl is left orphaned and must live with a relative who she doesn’t know. She resides in a mysterious mansion.

Mary Lennox is the orphan in this story. Her uncle is a hunchbacked man with a hard to see face. The mysterious house is called Misselthwaite. It is six hundred years old and is located at the end on the moor. Most of its 100 rooms are still locked. The gardens surrounding the house, one of which is inaccessible, has been abandoned for ten year, are what makes it special.

Although The Secret Garden contains characters and places we’ve seen in other stories, Mary Lennox is not the beloved protagonist. I was struck by the way he described it from the very first page as ugly, repellent and bad. Frances Hodgson Burnett clearly didn’t like spoilt children. Her blunt way of putting it reminded me of Roald Dal – who wasn’t shy about criticizing them.

It also breaks down the subjects of beauty and intelligence with subtlety. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s characters show us that you can look handsome by living a healthy lifestyle and smiling. To be wise and educated, you don’t have to be a member of a well-off social circle.

The fact that the girl is uncontrollable from the beginning is crucial to understanding her conversion. She discovers the magic and friendship of nature from Dickon, a twelve-year-old boy who loves flora & fauna.

While I admit that there were parts where the narration seemed repetitive and explanatory, I think it’s because it was written for children-youth audiences. Sometimes it is not right to repeat the message just to make it more clear. It does its job of promoting positive values without using too many sweeteners. It is a reading that encourages both young and old to be open to nature and their friends.


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Hi, my name's Sarah Star and welcome to my book review blog.

I come from Oklahoma and live there with my family.

By profession, I studied library and information science.

I am currently writing a novel and focusing on my new book review blog.

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