The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden

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 g...

Title:The Secret Garden
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0517189607
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:331 pages

The Secret Garden Reviews

  • K.D. Absolutely

    I am now confused. I do not know anymore what is my preference when it comes to books.

    When I was a kid, I wanted to read only books with pictures like the illustrated "Alice in the Wonderland" or "Rip Van Winkle". Until I read "Silas Marner" with no pictures and I said, wow, books with no pictures are also great!

    When I was a teenager, I said I don't like to read books that are hard to understand and read by adults until I read "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov and I said, wow, I did not know that th

    I am now confused. I do not know anymore what is my preference when it comes to books.

    When I was a kid, I wanted to read only books with pictures like the illustrated "Alice in the Wonderland" or "Rip Van Winkle". Until I read "Silas Marner" with no pictures and I said, wow, books with no pictures are also great!

    When I was a teenager, I said I don't like to read books that are hard to understand and read by adults until I read "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov and I said, wow, I did not know that there are authors who write this way!

    When I was a young man, I said I do not want thick books because I do not have time for them until I read "War and Peace" and "The Fountainhead" and I said, wow, thick books can be really engaging and finishing them can give you a different high!

    When I became a husband, my sex life became busy, I stopped heavy reading and concentrated on my job (not on copulating you silly) so I just grabbed some easy-read bestsellers like "The Da Vinci Code", "The Kite Runner" until my daughter came and I had to read some children's books to her and she loved them but I secretly hated them until I read to her "The Little Prince" and said, wow, there are still children's books that can speak to me even if I am a grown up man!

    When I became a middle-aged man, I discovered Goodreads. There is an option to screen members who apply to become your friend by asking the applicant a question. I thought then that the choice of genre was important so I chose this question:

    and from then on, I have been accepting and ignoring invites based on his/her answer. I generally don't accept invites from people who say they don't have any preference. I thought that that kind of answer is wishy-washy or indecisive that reflects his or her not being a serious reader.

    Prior to last year, I said, I don't want to read fantasy books. I am too old for that. Until, I read the whole series of J.R.R.Tolkien's

    and I say, wow, wow, wow, I did not know that I could still be amazed by a fantasy book about wizards, trolls, flying horse, monsters and little creatures!

    This book,

    is a kind of book that I would not even consider reading. It is neither a 501 nor a 1001 book. The reason why I read this is that it is one of the Top 100 Favorite Books of The Filipino Group here at Goodreads. We challenged ourselves to read all the chosen books so I gave this a try.

    Story-wise, it is too sweeet. Saccharine corny. Predictable. Inappropriate for a middle-age man like me. Almost insulting to intelligence: feisty girl turns sweet girl. Sickly unwanted boy turns healthy. Then the boy and father embrace each other and profess love for one another. Hu hu hu. Books can just hit you without any warning. I was sad yet happy when I closed this book this morning. I think I am going crazy reading different books and experience all the different emotions while reading them.

    So I don't know anymore. I don't know what I like in books. No more preferences. Ask me now, what is my favorite genre. I don't know.

    But, the writing in this book is flawless. I have attended a novel-writing workshop last year and all the ingredients of a good novel are here: well-developed characters, each of them has his/her own distinct voice and transforming towards the end, milieu (the garden) is clearly described and very significant in the story, the internal and external conflicts are arranged like small-to-tall majorettes in a parade, the hooks at the end of each chapter, the climax, the falling action, the denouement ties up the loose ends from the conflicts. The theme is solid. The lessons, though corny, are school-textbook-kind of reminders: that love is important to make this world a better place and nature is beautiful so we have to take care of it.

    I guess my realization is this:

  • Shayantani Das

    Except for the persistent India bashing, I loved this book. In fact Mistress Mary, I loved the ending so much that I forgive your English superiority complex. Next time you visit here though, allow me to take you on the ride across India, I hope your impression will change

  • Lisa

    “Two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way - or always to have it.”

    As a child, I read this book at least four or five times, along with Frances Hodgson Burnett's other childhood stories about Sarah Crewe (Little Princess) and Cedric (Lord Fauntleroy). They represented a rite of passage for me as a person and as a reader. There is magic involved in coming-of-age stories where children strive to find the kind of life they are meant to live, against all odds, and I fel

    “Two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way - or always to have it.”

    As a child, I read this book at least four or five times, along with Frances Hodgson Burnett's other childhood stories about Sarah Crewe (Little Princess) and Cedric (Lord Fauntleroy). They represented a rite of passage for me as a person and as a reader. There is magic involved in coming-of-age stories where children strive to find the kind of life they are meant to live, against all odds, and I felt deeply satisfied each time I closed one of those books, knowing that the protagonists had (once again) made it through various challenges to live a better, more natural and fulfilled life.

    So far, so good.

    Some childhood classics are better left alone later, signifying a certain phase that can only be "demystified" by rereading, leading to bitter disappointment and loss of the initial enchantment. I hadn't touched The Secret Garden for decades, as I feared the slightly exaggerated, dramatised plot might put me off, and destroy the magic of my memory.

    But then I happened to discuss a phenomenon among students in a wealthy, over-privileged area. Many children and teenagers appear phlegmatic, angry, frustrated, lacking initiative to learn and develop, and they demand unreasonable attention without showing any willingness to commit to tasks themselves. We could not make sense of it, seeing that these students had "everything they needed, and more", and met with no restrictions or boundaries from their parents. Shouldn't they be happy? But they aren't. They are among the most neurotic, anxious children I have ever met.

    That's when The Secret Garden came to my mind again, - an early case study of childhood neglect in wealthy environments, in which children's physical and material needs are met, but their psychological development is completely left untouched. In The Secret Garden, it is the poor, but well-raised and deeply loved local boy who shows the spoiled, unhappy upper class children how to take on a responsible role for their life, and how to make active and positive decisions rather than throwing fits to let others step in and take over.

    Children need boundaries, and nurturing, and meaningful connections to their surroundings. If they are treated with fear and submission, they will turn into tyrants to see how far they can go before they receive some kind of direct attention, negative or positive. If they are handled with too much severity, they will duck and hide, and develop chameleon-like survival strategies. To create a happy, mature, and responsible human being, a balance between rights and duties must be struck, with limits the child knows it cannot overstep without facing consequences, and with areas of creative experimentation, where future freedom of choice can be safely practised.

    Just like a flower in a garden, a child needs both space, time and air, and a lot of nurturing, to blossom. I am grateful for the connection I found between my childhood reading pleasure and the everyday worries I face in my profession. A smile, a word of encouragement, a nudge in the right direction, all the small signs that show students that their teachers believe in their power to achieve great things - that's the magic of everyday life. And giving in to their tantrums is not helping those sensitive plants grow. It is stifling their development.

    When they claim they are too "tired" or "bored" to read The Secret Garden, and prefer to watch a movie version (if at all), they are in more dire need of overcoming the obstacle of long-term under-stimulation than the protagonists of the story itself. They need to be trained to love reading just like the two unhappy children in the mansion needed to be trained to show interest and care for the garden.

    Responsibility and care are acquired skills!

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    Love love love

    Also: counting this as my first BookTubeAThon read even if I read only 2 pages during the actual readathon, I NEED ALL THE BOOKS I CAN GET

  • Henry Avila

    Two sickly, arrogant, lonely, neglected, little children, from wealthy families, both ten, cousins, live continents apart , Mary Lennox, in hot, steamy , colonial India, and Colin Craven, he in rainy, cold, Yorkshire, northern England, a cripple, just before the start of the First World War, they don't even known the other exists, but will soon, both like to show contempt to servants, by yelling at them, while giving orders . Mary is spoiled, unhappy, and angry, her beautiful mother, loves parti

    Two sickly, arrogant, lonely, neglected, little children, from wealthy families, both ten, cousins, live continents apart , Mary Lennox, in hot, steamy , colonial India, and Colin Craven, he in rainy, cold, Yorkshire, northern England, a cripple, just before the start of the First World War, they don't even known the other exists, but will soon, both like to show contempt to servants, by yelling at them, while giving orders . Mary is spoiled, unhappy, and angry, her beautiful mother, loves parties, doesn't look kindly at the plain offspring , father too busy also, helping govern the enormous colony, truth be told, they dislike the unlovable girl. Cholera strikes and both parents fall, the little orphan child, is not emotionally attached to either one, and never a single drop of tears is shed...Shipped off, as quickly as possible, by the authorities, to her uncle Archibald Craven, in England, Colin's father, owner of an ancient, family mansion, ( 600 year- old) Misselthwaite Manor, with a hundred, mostly unused rooms, a decade previously, Mr. Craven lost his wife, (Mary and Colin mothers were sisters ) he adored , in an accident, and never recovered emotionally, his face always sad and mournful. The lord of the manor, is a frequent traveler abroad, he must get away from his bedridden, weak boy, it pains him to look at the pitiful sight and mostly does, when Colin is asleep....Mary, after a long, boring, escorted sea voyage, arrives, eventually, and lives alone in an isolated part of the mansion, Martha, a teenager, her servant, the only person she talks to, gives information about a secret garden, Mrs. Medlock, the housekeeper, like everyone else, ignores the unattractive girl, and hides her far from others, just the hired hands are there, after a quick visit to see her strange uncle, he leaves for foreign lands. Poor little Mary, nothing to do, but stare at the furniture... exploring the the grounds of the estate, the nearby, unnatural moors, outside, and somehow, finds the secret garden... later, after hearing again, weird, wailing sounds, coming through the walls, in her room, the rather frightened Mary, gets up in the middle of the night, down the dark, long , sinister corridors, enters an unknown room, and discovers a pathetic, depressed boy, in bed, her cousin Colin, that no one mentioned....They become close friends, after a few minor disagreements, life begins in reality, for the two children, at Mary's urging, she gets Colin outside for fresh air, with the help of a third, Martha's younger brother Dickon, 12, who animals love, a hidden door , opened , showing the eerie, gloomy, mysterious, dying secret garden, locked for ten years, by Mr.Craven, something dreadful occurred there, brave Mary is delighted though, she wants a beautiful, garden, with colorful roses, live trees, growing plants, birds singing, and flying, bees humming, butterflies floating, rabbits jumping, squirrels climbing, crows cawing, brilliant flowers springing up in all sections of the Secret Garden..and people lying on the green grass, sightseeing, looking at the bluest of the blue, the sky above. They have hoes, the children, let the plowing and weeding begin...A children's classic, that can be read and enjoyed by adults, rejuvenation of the human spirit, with a simple act of planting a few seeds in the ground, yet more than just exotic flowers coming above the dirt, the most precious commodity on the Earth may also spring into existence, life for the soul.


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