Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Book Review; the Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The secret garden was written over one hundred years ago but Frances enchanting story still resonates with children and adults today the world over. The story starts in exotic India in the days of the British rule, rajahs, temples and tigers. Mary a plain and spoilt child spends her days not with her parents or other children but with her servant and playing by herself in an imaginary garden. Tragedy strikes and her parents are struck by typhoid and Mary is shipped off to the bleak Yorkshire moors to her uncle’s house, were they have little interest and time for her. Mary’s character along with all of the character’s in the book are both believable and beautifully written. You feel for her as she lays awake in a dark cold large house and hears strange cry’s in the night. Colin, Marys cousin is also a unloved and tolerated child, having everything provide for him, and to much time he slips into negative thinking and feels he is about to die at any moment. The other main child character is Dicken, who you are introduced to slowly by his sister who waits on Mary. The sister is a happy and hardworking child who worry’s a lot. Dicken introduces the concept of magic to the story, he charms animals and he knows how things grow and is in tune with nature and takes joy from everything around him. Mary and Colin are both drawn to Dicken and Dickens’ mother who sums up all that is kind and good in the world. All the way though the book runs the enticing theme of the secret garden. The robin Mrs Medlock the house keeper and Ben weather-staff the gardener, add layers of interest to the story. Colin’s illness which turns out just to be mostly in his head is cured by a new sense of his own self-awareness. He believes in the garden, he believes in science as he has read many books on the subject he believes in magic and it is these believes that will cure him. If you have not read this book for many years, or indeed like me have only up to now watched the films. I would strongly encourage you to get it from the library as itt is as fresh now as the day it was written. I enjoyed my magical escape into the secret garden, which is waiting for you, over the wall, just follow the robin!