Monday, November 21, 2016

Book Review: The Secret Garden

Almost two months ago I signed up to participate in a classics reading project. My goal was to read 50 specific classics in four years. (You can read the blog post here if you missed it.) The good news is I finally finished my first one and yes, I realize that I am going to have to work a little harder if I want to meet my goal.

I read The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. Shockingly, I have never read this book before but I have memories of watching the movie version (the 1987 edition) many many times as a kid. My main memory of the movie is that Chopin's Nocturne, Op. 72 is played while Mistress Mary is wandering around the big dark house at night looking for the source of the crying she hears. Creepy!!! For the record, this is very possibly where my love of Chopin began. I was also surprised to discover that some of the major plot points of the movie are not actually in the book. What?!?! A movie that doesn't follow the book?!?! Absurd!!! Yet another reason that as an adult I always read the book first.

The Secret Garden is the story of Mary Lennox, a spoiled child who comes to live with her uncle when her parents die in a cholera epidemic. The best word I can think of to describe this book is lovely. It is a lovely story. It is slow moving and just sort of meanders around. There are no big plot twists, no unexpected reveals. It is just the story of children growing and changing, and discovering who they want to be. Just as a garden needs to be pruned and weeded and given room to grow, so do the children and given the proper space and air and a little bit of pruning, both the children and the garden will thrive. 

Simply a lovely book, you should read it!

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