The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Goodreads Summary

*NO SPOILERS*

 

My first favorite Frances Hodgson Burnett book is A Little Princess and this one just happens to be my second. Burnett is really who got me started on this whole book obsession bandwagon, I still remember the day I checked out A Little Princess in my middle school library. Yep, those were the days of friendship bracelets and my new love for reading. These two aren’t her only books but these are the most notable. I have just recently come across a beautiful edition in the Barnes and Nobles classic children’s edition (go check out my IG @bibliomanic_bookworm).  My thoughts on this book are a little mixed considering I’m biased to her work, but this was an overall good read and would definitely recommend it. So, starting with originality, have I read something like this before? Of course not! This is a classic, the one that everyone else imitates. Although this was a completely original idea for a story, it was also super predictable. Already within the first chapter I knew what would happen because the writing made it ridiculously obvious. However, there was this one scene that I guessed wrong but I wasn’t far off. I am more of a modern YA gal so reading this classic wasn’t very relatable. I know this was written way before my time but I still had a little hope that I could understand at least some of what the characters were going through. I like reading about experiences similar to mine to see how others deal with certain situations (even if they are fictional) it helps me gain a bigger perspective on things and show me the world isn’t all black and white. Now adding on to that this book didn’t evoke any of my emotions. I didn’t have any true empathy or sadness over their situation, I just had this passing pity for these children. With all of that said this tale was written beautifully and I give extra bonus points for the cover and the amazing illustrations included in my copy. This was a read for those of you that like a good heartwarming story about overcoming fears and finding the true meaning of family. Also, those of you who don’t mind that some of the language isn’t up to date.
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*SPOILER ALERT*
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From the very beginning when Burnett portrayed Mary as a spoiled brat I knew this would be a story of self-discovery and a turn in character for the little girl. I also figured out that the crying was Mr. Craven’s child, the only thing I got wrong was the age. I thought it would be a baby that he had as a result of an affair that he felt guilty about,we all know how authors love a good scandal. I was a little disappointed to find out Colin was very similar to Mary in many ways. Although I guess it had done both of them some good to realize that they were reflections of each other, so that they could identify the wicked in themselves and change. I also think that the title is ironic because the garden was never really secret at all. From Ben Weatherstaff tending it every so often after the mother had died, and the children letting Dickon’s mother in on the secret (and all of his animals), the secret wasn’t a secret at all. I will say that I absolutely adored the little robin, and how Burnett kept his side story going with his perspective from his nest. Now as for Mr. Craven I think that what he did to his son was unacceptable, leaving him to fend for himself and making him feel unloved and ostracized. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and admit that losing a loved one is extremely difficult, but that still doesn’t give him any excuse to abandon his son like that. I doubt his wife would have wanted him to act like that toward the only piece of her that is left, and if he tried to have a relationship with his son then he might have had closure from her death telling him stories of her. She would have been able to live on through not only Mr. Craven but her son also. Although I think that was a bad move on his part I did like the scene when they reunited and he saw his son was healthy after all. These children just had some bad luck dealt to them, and they had to keep rolling with the punches, which I admire.

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