How wonderful to experience that feeling of getting lost in the pages of books, flying to different places and experiencing the various unique cultures of the world and coming back to reality with all these thoughts swirling in your head ! One such book I had this feeling in was “The Secret Garden”.
When the author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, was composing this story she composed it not in her birth place, Manchester, England where she was born on 1849, but in her new home on Long Island.
She wrote the novel “The Secret Garden” in the later stages of her life. It was loosely connected to two life changing events that took place in her life. The first was the death of her sixteen-year-old son Lionel, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis. When he died in her arms in Paris at the end of 1890, she was completely devastated. The second loss was that of her beloved home Maytham Hall in Kent, in southern England which in 1908 the leaseholder decided to sell. Burnett was forced to move out of her home leaving behind a part of her heart there. She had enjoyed her days there taming a robin as she wrote at a table in a sheltered garden. Both the robin and the garden made their way into “The Secret Garden”.
This book is about a selfish, surly, rude, sickly and obstinate girl, Mary, from India who is abandoned and forgotten in her huge house after her unloving British parents catch a disease called cholera and die. As an orphan, she is send to live in Yorkshire, England with her uncle Archibald Craven in his house the Misselthwaite Manor. Mary is still a disagreeable girl – spoiled and bratty- until she realizes that she is going to have to learn how to feed herself, dress and, above all, amuse herself since she now has no servants to wait on her. Then suddenly her attitude changes when she discovers a lot of surprising things at once. These discoveries are the core of the story and make up one of the most important plot twist. One of the twist was a mysterious wailing object locked up inside a hidden room. Together three lonely children embark on an incredible adventure with the gardener, Ben Weatherstaff, and are driven closer to each other whilst they try to cure Colin of his so called disease.
This story contains the perfect balance of joy and drama. The characters are described elaborately in such a way that it is dissolving in with the story and automatically being fixed into our minds. The settings are described beautifully with such feeling that we are almost able to vision it and feel the wind blowing through our hair.
It was really surprising when I saw Mary change because I had not really noticed the slow change. I only realized it when I recalled the story plot and this shows the impressiveness of Burnett’s writing skills.She had slowly changed the direction of Mary’s surly attitude into one that contained friendliness and politeness. In my opinion this book is spilling the most spotlight on the life of the main protagonist, Mary, and her friends, Colin and Dickon rather than the beautiful, mysterious, magical garden in which they discover and learn about many new things. It is focusing on the adventures and discoveries of the children rather than the secret garden and its history. So I think it would have been better if the title had been named a bit more focused onto the characters rather than the secret garden. This story is a mixture of excitement, joy, sorrow all mixed perfectly to bring together a charming story full of the troubles and journeys of 3 lonely children who have been driven together.
“The Secret Garden” is one of those books which we can read over and over again but will never get tired of it. Even if we read it two days apart we will feel as if it is a fresh new story. This story takes us into a new world where we become part of the story and are able to experience all the emotions and able to visualize all the different landscapes. Once we get into the Yorkshire slang we will be able to get into the flow very easily. I will definitely recommend this book to all book lovers.