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 garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?

The Secret Garden Details

TitleThe Secret Garden
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 1st, 1998
PublisherChildren's Classics
ISBN0517189607
ISBN-139780517189603
Number of pages331 pages
Rating
GenreClassics, Fiction, Childrens, Young Adult

The Secret Garden Review

  • K.D. Absolutely
    August 8, 2009
    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: What is your favorite literary genre?" 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 The Lord of the Rings 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, The Secret Garden 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: yes, at some points in our lives, we tend to prefer some literary genres over the others. However, the genre is secondary to the writing. If the writer is good, no matter in which genre the book belongs, he/she should be read. It is not the genre, it is the writing.
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  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    July 26, 2014
    Love love loveAlso: 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
  • Shayantani Das
    June 29, 2011
    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
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  • Todd
    August 22, 2007
    I know this book seems out of place among the fare I usually read, but hey, all I can say is that I like what I like. There is some intangible quality to this book that really strikes a chord in me. The whole idea of that sickly child being healed with love, attention, and (forgive me an LDS joke) wholesome recreational activities, just somehow speaks Truth to me. I think this book has strong application to today's problems with the rising generation. I really believe that kids these days are ge I know this book seems out of place among the fare I usually read, but hey, all I can say is that I like what I like. There is some intangible quality to this book that really strikes a chord in me. The whole idea of that sickly child being healed with love, attention, and (forgive me an LDS joke) wholesome recreational activities, just somehow speaks Truth to me. I think this book has strong application to today's problems with the rising generation. I really believe that kids these days are getting fatter, less healthy, and less disciplined. I think that a good romp on the heather and a breath of fresh air would do kids a lot of good.On another level, I really believe that some people are only as sick as they think they are. Working in the healthcare field, it's obvious to me that some people find it quite easy to take the role of a victim. Again, this book speaks Truth concerning the value of attitude and perspective in overcoming perceived problems and finding out that they weren't as bad as you thought they were.
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  • Manybooks
    November 23, 2009
    I first read this wonderful and evocative absolute and utter gem of a story at around age twelve or thirteen (it was likely one of the first longer novels I read entirely in English, not counting those books read for school). I simply adored Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden when I read it as a young teenager (or rather, a tween), I continued to love it when I reread it multiple times while at university, and I still massively loved the novel when I reread the story for the Children's I first read this wonderful and evocative absolute and utter gem of a story at around age twelve or thirteen (it was likely one of the first longer novels I read entirely in English, not counting those books read for school). I simply adored Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden when I read it as a young teenager (or rather, a tween), I continued to love it when I reread it multiple times while at university, and I still massively loved the novel when I reread the story for the Children's Literature Group in 2011 (and I much continue to love it, having reread it at least twice or so since then).I honestly think that I enjoyed The Secret Garden even more as an adult than the times I read the novel when I was younger (and that is saying an awful lot). When I first read The Secret Garden as a young teenager, I was definitely enchanted by the garden (and of course, the Robin), and I really liked and enjoyed reading about the Sowerbys, but I did kind of consider both Mary and Colin as somewhat spoiled and selfish (I understood their problems and felt some empathy, but I also felt more than a bit annoyed at and by them, something that I certainly did not experience as much during my adult rereads). As an adult reader, I actually and firmly believe that most, if not all of both Mary's and Colin's problems and behavioural quirks (be they emotional or physical) are the result of parental abandonment and emotional neglect (maybe even abuse). They act and react towards the world the way the world (or at least how most of the world) has always acted and reacted towards them. And without the garden, but also without characters like Martha, Susan and Dickon Sowerby, without Ben Weatherstaff and the Robin, there would never have been any change in and for Mary (or at least, not enough change), and by extension, there would never have been any change in and for Colin and his father either.One interesting and thought-provoking fact presented in The Secret Garden is that there actually seems to be a real and almost palpable absence of nurturing father figures throughout (except maybe Dickon, but he is just a boy and in many ways resembles more a Pan-like nature deity, and Ben Weatherstaff really is too old and curmudgeonly to be considered nurturing and fatherly). We do have quite a number of nurturing mother figures portrayed who aid Mary, and later Colin in their recovery (Susan and Martha Sowerby, and even Mary later becomes somewhat of a motherly and nurturing figure towards Colin), but we never see or hear much about a Mr. Sowerby (he is a complete nonentity). And while much is made of the fact that Mary Lennox' mother did not seem to want her child (a fact that is rightfully criticised), the fact that Mr. Lennox did not trouble himself much about his daughter either, while mentioned briefly, is seemingly accepted as a given (or at least much more accepted). Also, while the fact that Mr. Craven has spiritually and emotionally abandoned Colin, and cannot stand to see him when he's awake because his son's eyes remind him of the boy's dead mother is noted in the novel, this rather vile and nasty attitude and behaviour is not (at least in my humble opinion) subject to nearly the same amount of harsh criticism that Mary's emotional and spiritual abandonment by her mother is. I know that the death of Mr. Craven's wife was traumatic for him, but both Mr. Carven's and Mrs. Lennox' actions, or rather their lack of love and acceptance towards their children have had horrible psychological (and psychosomatic) consequences, basically turning both of them into emotional cripples, and Colin into a hysterical hypochondriac who thinks he has a crooked back. The Secret Garden clearly and lastingly demonstrates that children (no, anyone) can only show love, can only be lovable, if they have experienced love themselves. In the beginning of the novel, Mary is described as tyrannical, unpleasant, thoroughly "unlovable" and also as somewhat odd. But how can Mary know anything about love, if she has never experienced love? Her parents certainly do not seem to want her, and she has basically been abandoned to the care of servants, who have also been instructed to keep Mary out of the way as much as possible (and in her innermost soul, Mary likely realises this and much and rightly resents this). Mary's temper tantrums towards her Ayah and other servants, her desire to always get her own way, are not merely Mary imitating the behaviour she witnesses among the ex-pat community in India (although that likely also has a part to play). I believe in many ways, the servants act as representatives of her absent parents, and by lashing out at the servants, Mary is also lashing out at her careless, unloving, absent parents by proxy.And even when Mary first arrives at Misselthwaite, there is still a real and ever-present danger that she will never be able to change, to emerge out of her shell (or to change enough, for at least in England, Mary has the opportunity to go outside and play/run, which was not possible in India due to the hot, stiflingly humid climate); many of the inhabitants of the manor, but especially Mrs. Medlock and Mr. Craven regard Mary, or seem to regard Mary the same way that her parents did, either not at all, or as a cumbersome, even loathsome burden. Without Martha, Dickon, and the influence of Martha's mother (Mrs. Sowerby), and of course, Ben Weatherstaff and the Robin (who is a bird, but might just represent the spirit of Colin's deceased mother), not much would likely have ever changed for Mary or within Mary. There might well have been some physical improvement of her health, but her mental health, her soul, would likely have remained for the most part sour and disagreeable.I have to admit that I do have a bit of a problem with the fact that so many of the adults portrayed in The Secret Garden (even individuals like Martha and Susan Sowerby) keep bringing up the fact that Mary's mother was supposedly very physically attractive, and that in many ways, Mary is often judged negatively because she is plain, while her mother was considered very beautiful. However, Mary's mother does not in any way care about or for her daughter, and had, in fact, never wanted a daughter; her careless, unloving attitude (and that of her husband as well) is reflected in Mary's countenance, her whole being. Thus, even though Mrs. Lennox might have been physically sweet looking, she basically has a careless and unloving and massively sour (read ugly) soul, which is reflected in her daughter (both spiritually and physically).This "Norton Critical Edition" of The Secret Garden (which seems to have been published in 2006) is to be most highly recommended, especially for anyone interested in both the novel (the narrative) and its historical contexts, diverse critical voices etc., as it provides not only the text proper (which is simply and utterly magical, of course), but also much supplemental information and materials about Frances Hodgson Burnett and her timeless literary classic. And although I do not think that this edition lists every piece of extant literary criticism on The Secret Garden, there truly and fortunately is a goodly amount presented, as well as a solid, although not extensive selected bibliography (being a more than adequate starting point for serious academic study and research).
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  • Henry Avila
    August 17, 2016
    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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  • Brian Yahn
    September 30, 2013
    The Secret Garden is a "lovely" story in every sense of the word. Primarily, it's about three kids: Mistress Mary, Dickon, and Master Colin--and how just thinking a little differently can change a person completely.There's a lot of subtle things Frances Hodgson Burnett does right: The way she relates the Garden to Colin's mother and how that affects his relationship with his father--and how all of these things have made him a horribly spoiled brat. That thinking a little differently, and getting The Secret Garden is a "lovely" story in every sense of the word. Primarily, it's about three kids: Mistress Mary, Dickon, and Master Colin--and how just thinking a little differently can change a person completely.There's a lot of subtle things Frances Hodgson Burnett does right: The way she relates the Garden to Colin's mother and how that affects his relationship with his father--and how all of these things have made him a horribly spoiled brat. That thinking a little differently, and getting some fresh air, and fixing up a Secret Garden can simultaneously fix up his life and his relationship with his father.Even though it packs a nice punch and does a lot of little things right, the story overall is a tough read. And it goes beyond just being dated and having awkwardly constructed sentences. It's more than the dialogue and the Yorkshire accent most of the characters speak with that makes what they're trying to say almost impossible to decipher for a modern English speaker.The pacing is awful. There really isn't any conflict. So it's REALLY hard to get into. And that's sad, because it really is a lovely tale.
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  • Arah-Lynda
    September 5, 2016
    Where, you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow. Originally published in 1911 The Secret Garden is a true children’s  classic.  One that adults should read as well.  Mary Lennox was born in India.  A plain little girl she was not wanted by her mother or father and consequently handed over to the servants to raise.  Because her Ayah and the other servants feared her mother would be angry if she was disturbed, Mary was consequently given her own way.  She soon became a bossy, nasty, little Where, you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow. Originally published in 1911 The Secret Garden is a true children’s  classic.  One that adults should read as well.  Mary Lennox was born in India.  A plain little girl she was not wanted by her mother or father and consequently handed over to the servants to raise.  Because her Ayah and the other servants feared her mother would be angry if she was disturbed, Mary was consequently given her own way.  She soon became a bossy, nasty, little girl who was frail, yellow and most often angry.  When she was but 10 years of age both her parents and her Ayah succumbed to Cholera, leaving Mary alone with no-one to raise her.But Mary has an uncle who lives in England on the Yorkshire moors and she soon finds herself at Misselthwaite Manor.  Her Uncle lost his wife ten years ago to a tragic accident and since that time is rarely at the manor, choosing instead a life of solitude while travelling.  So once more Mary is left on her own, only this time without an Ayah.  Through talking and listening to Martha, a young servant at the manor, Mary soon learns about a mysterious secret garden.  A garden behind a locked gate that no-one has opened in ten years.   And what is the source of that plaintive crying that Mary hears from time to time and everyone else pretends they do not.A secret garden, a hundred room English Manor, the Yorkshire moors, a 12 year old Yorkshire boy bestowed with nigh on magical persuasion over the woodland creatures, a mysterious cry, lessons learned the hard way and the power of positive thinking.  There is plenty to love in this story that can be easily digested by young and old alike. It is a short read, so take a break, curl up and spend a couple of  hours with this charming children’s classic, guaranteed to fill you with wonder.  
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  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    November 13, 2012
    The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnettعنوانها: باغ اسرارآمیز؛ باغ مخفی؛ باغ راز؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ عنوان: باغ اسرارآمیز؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: شمس الملوک مصاحب؛ تاریخ نشر فرانکلین: 1340، در 338 صعنوان: باغ مخفی؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: نوشین ریشهری؛ تهران، سروش، انتشارات صدا و سیما، 1372، در 203 ص، شابک چاپ سوم در سال 1389: 9789643769185؛عنوان: باغ مخفی؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: مهرداد مهدویان؛ تهران، قدیانی، کتابهای بنفشه، 1375، در 280 ص، مصور The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnettعنوانها: باغ اسرارآمیز؛ باغ مخفی؛ باغ راز؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ عنوان: باغ اسرارآمیز؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: شمس الملوک مصاحب؛ تاریخ نشر فرانکلین: 1340، در 338 صعنوان: باغ مخفی؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: نوشین ریشهری؛ تهران، سروش، انتشارات صدا و سیما، 1372، در 203 ص، شابک چاپ سوم در سال 1389: 9789643769185؛عنوان: باغ مخفی؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: مهرداد مهدویان؛ تهران، قدیانی، کتابهای بنفشه، 1375، در 280 ص، مصور، رمان نوجوانان، شابک چاپ چهارم در سال 1389: 9789644170485؛ داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 19 معنوان: باغ مخفی؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: مریم مفتاحی؛ تهران، آوای کلار، 1392، در 354 ص، شابک: 9786005395969؛عنوان: باغ مخفی؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ تصویرگر: گیلی مارکل؛ مترجم: مهسا طاهریان؛ ویراستار: عزت جلالی؛ تهران، پینه دوز، 1393، در 51 ص، مصور، شابک: 9789642886258؛عنوان: باغ اسرارآمیز؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: علی پناهی آذر؛ تهران، همگامان چاپ، 1379، در 248 ص، شابک: 9649194355؛عنوان: باغ اسرارآمیز؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: علی پناهی آذر؛ تهران، رود، 1380، در 248 ص، شابک: 9646869262؛عنوان: باغ اسرارآمیز؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: شیرین صادقی طاهری؛ قم، نسل بیدار، 1379، در 118 ص، شابک: 9649277102؛عنوان: باغ راز؛ نویسنده: فرانسیس هاجسن برنت؛ مترجم: شهلا ارژنگ؛ تهران، مرداد، 1382، در 350 ص، شابک: 9647116144؛دخترکی ده ساله، به نام «ماری لناکس»؛ پدر و مادر خود را در هندوستان از دست می‏دهد. او را نزد عمویش به انگلستان می‏فرستند. عمویش مرد قوزی و بداخلاقی ست که در جوانی زن زیبایش را از دست داده، و از آن پس در باغ زنش را بسته است. «ماری» به یاری پسر جوانی به نام «دیکون» در باغی را که سالهاست نگشوده اند، باز میکند و سپس پى میبرد که پسرعموى معلولش «کالین»، در آن سوى باغ زندگى میکند. پاهاى «کالین» حرکت نمیکنند. اما یارى «مارى» و «دیکون» و وجود باغ، سبب میشوند تا او تندرستی خویش را بازیابدا. شربیانی
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  • Zoë
    March 15, 2015
    Book 27/100 of 2015I had to read this for class, but I'm happy that I did! I read A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett when I was younger and loved it, so I'm pleased that I had the chance to read this for a class. Definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to read an easy classic as I love her writing.
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  • Apatt
    September 16, 2016
    “The cholera had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies.”There, is a cheery start to one of the most optimistic novels I have ever read. Occasionally I pick a Librivox audiobook book based on who the reader is, for this version of The Secret Garden, it is read by Karen Savage, one of the few professional level readers who have graciously narrated entire books for Librivox’s public domain audiobooks. Listen to a sample and you will understand. I didn’t really know anyt “The cholera had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies.”There, is a cheery start to one of the most optimistic novels I have ever read. Occasionally I pick a Librivox audiobook book based on who the reader is, for this version of The Secret Garden, it is read by Karen Savage, one of the few professional level readers who have graciously narrated entire books for Librivox’s public domain audiobooks. Listen to a sample and you will understand. I didn’t really know anything about The Secret Garden, the title did ring a bell but I had no idea what it is about. I was hoping it is a garden where weirdness ensues and corpses pile up, perhaps with a trowel embedded. Alas, no, quite the opposite really. Had I known that it is a children’s book I would not have read it, but by the time shockingly nice things happen I was already under the book’s—and Karen Savage’s—spell. I was thinking “looks like I’m in for a nice time, oh dear”.Like a lot of people today I am somewhat cynical, I think you would have to be insane to think the world is a particularly nice place to live in at the moment. Still, that is what escapism through fiction is all about. So, OK, I’m game, just let me put these on.That’s better! In this wonderful world that we live in there are often delightful surprises, discount coupons for our favorite snacks, gift cards, terrific free audiobooks etc. (I’ve run out of examples). The Secret Garden is about that, if you look at life with a kind eye and optimism, you will surprise at what the universe will give back to you (especially if you have the glasses I’m wearing). At the beginning of The Secret Garden ten-year-old Mary Lennox is living with her mother in India, lording over the poor natives. One fine morning she wakes to find everybody in her house either dead from cholera or gone off to look for some places without quite so much cholera in them. Fortunately, some British soldiers pick her up and she is soon transported to her uncle’s isolated mansion called Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, pre-Brexit UK. Little Mary is sometimes called “Mistress Mary Quite Contrary” because in those bygone days the term “pain in the ass” has yet to be coined. She basically hates everybody she comes across, mostly due to parental neglect. “Perhaps if her mother had carried her pretty face and her pretty manners oftener into the nursery Mary might have learned some pretty ways too”However, she soon finds the lovely clean air of Yorkshire agrees with her, and a nice maid gives her a skipping rope which is “th' sensiblest toy a child can have”. She soon begins to mellow and even find that some people are not so bad.“I like you, and you make the fifth person. I never thought I should like five people.”. One day when Mary Less-Contrary-Than-Before is skipping around she finds the eponymous locked up secret garden and a little robin helps her finds the key, because that is what robins do. Mary is enchanted by the neglected garden, she sees all sorts of possibilities in it, perhaps it would be a great place to set up a fight club. Soon she meets young Dickon, the brother of her maid Martha, who knows all about gardening and can charm animals (not so much a talent as a bear necessity), soon after making that acquaintance she discovers a young boy living secretly in Misselthwaite. He is Colin Craven, the son of her uncle who owns the mansion. Colin is in a different league of contrariness from Mary at her worst. When he is not shouting, screaming, or throwing tantrums he sulks quietly to recharge his battery for the next mega-brat session. Fortunately, Mary shows him—with a lot of help from Dickon—the error of his ways and even discovers the error of her own ways. Gardening is the key.As someone who is not keen on gardening (I just don’t dig ‘em) I had to suspend my disbelief that pottering and frolicking about a garden can bring so many psychological and health benefits. Colin is introduced as an invalid and Mary’s secret garden project turns out to be just what the doctor failed to order. If you are a fan of this book you may get the impression that I am mocking it in my 21st century cynical ways, but really I am not. I am quite charmed by the “magical realism” of this book with its semi-Disneyesque animals psychic-linked to Dikon, subtly supernatural goings on, and kids slowly recovering their health and humanity. What’s not to like? It is all very nice and the ending is very pat (if somewhat abrupt) but I don’t need to be a cynic 24/7.My favorite aspect of The Secret Garden is what George Eliot describes as “unfolding of the soul” in Silas Marner. It is a wonderful thing when you see it in real life, in fiction—when it is effectively depicted—it can be quite moving and even inspirational. I like how Mary learns to get on and even like people through receiving their kindness and how Colin finds his humanity through making a friend and getting some fresh air. If I was a hypochondriac the idea of gardening would not appeal to me, but I am not a character in this book and I am glad gardening has this therapeutic effect for them.Finally, I ought to say something about Frances Hodgson Burnett's writing; this is my first experience of it. It is not high literature like Dickens or Austen, but it is a thing of beauty. Deceptively simple yet full of charm, warmth, sincerity and even goodwill to all man. The Yorkshire dialect in some of the dialogue is delightfully written and the meaning is never obscured (some of the harder to guess ones are directly explained). Her style is clearly not for the hardcore cynic, but then if you are a hardcore cynic perhaps you should give it a rest.Do I recommend this book? Of course I do, either read it or go run about in the sun, it will do you a world of good!_____________________Note:There is an abridged audiobook version* read by nonother than the time traveling and very lovely Jenna Coleman, I have that version too. Our Clara Jen does a very spirited narration, though she does not put Karen Savage in the shade, both of them can stay out in the sun (uh, in a good way. This metaphor is getting out of control!). However, the abridged version is too short for my liking, only about one hour long, so I would only recommend it to Clara lovin' Whovians or Victoria fans.*A copy of this review has been automatically mirrored there by the GR Gremlin.
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  • Amy
    February 21, 2008
    I guess I didn't miss much by not reading this book as a child. I don't really understand why it became a classic. It starts out interestingly enough with a very gothic setting. A little British girl named Mary survives a cholera epidemic in India and is sent to Yorkshire to live with her distant relatives. The author gives a vivid description of the beauty of the moors and the mysterious mansion that the girl goes to live in. The only other interesting part is really when Mary discovers the boy I guess I didn't miss much by not reading this book as a child. I don't really understand why it became a classic. It starts out interestingly enough with a very gothic setting. A little British girl named Mary survives a cholera epidemic in India and is sent to Yorkshire to live with her distant relatives. The author gives a vivid description of the beauty of the moors and the mysterious mansion that the girl goes to live in. The only other interesting part is really when Mary discovers the boy who she hears crying in the mansion and when she discovers the secret garden. Everything else beyond that (which is most of the book) isn't all that interesting. The author spends many pages explaining how miraculous and magic fresh air is for healing and fattening up the crying boy and the girl who escaped the cholera epidemic in India. The bits that get old after a while: Oh, look, it's a garden! Look, I can run and play! I'm not a cripple after all! Look at the pretty birds! The garden is alive! Now I have an appetite! Isn't it a magical miracle that I'm having fun playing outside?I just wasn't really impressed.
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  • Carol
    September 5, 2012
    MISTRESS MARY, QUITE CONTRARY. HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? WITH SILVER BELLS AND COCKLESHELLS. AND MARIGOLDS ALL IN A ROW."This delightful children's classic, first published in 1911, pulled me right in with the cholera outbreak and continued with a bit of mystery, lots of magic and some pretty important learning experiences for both children and adults alike.Not surprising this wonderful work is on the "100 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once" list. Enchanting super-fast read with a beauty MISTRESS MARY, QUITE CONTRARY. HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? WITH SILVER BELLS AND COCKLESHELLS. AND MARIGOLDS ALL IN A ROW."This delightful children's classic, first published in 1911, pulled me right in with the cholera outbreak and continued with a bit of mystery, lots of magic and some pretty important learning experiences for both children and adults alike.Not surprising this wonderful work is on the "100 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once" list. Enchanting super-fast read with a beauty of a cover. Loved it!
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  • Alison
    June 25, 2008
    I seem to be the only woman I know who didn't read and cherish this book as a child. So I decided to see what all the fuss was about...It took me a while to get in step with the tone of this book. The beginning was Jane Eyre-lite...Mary is orphaned and sent from India to England to live with her uncle, a stranger to her. The story progresses...and then....Mary's talking to a robin, and he's showing her where buried keys are. At that point, the mood shifted, and I sat back to enjoy not a literary I seem to be the only woman I know who didn't read and cherish this book as a child. So I decided to see what all the fuss was about...It took me a while to get in step with the tone of this book. The beginning was Jane Eyre-lite...Mary is orphaned and sent from India to England to live with her uncle, a stranger to her. The story progresses...and then....Mary's talking to a robin, and he's showing her where buried keys are. At that point, the mood shifted, and I sat back to enjoy not a literary masterpiece, but a child's fantasy adventure.I really lost myself in the beauty of the Secret Garden...it's natural beauty and the idea of its powers to cleanse our physical and spiritual sides. One review claimed that re-visiting this made the reader want to "get back into gardening"...and I felt that. It's a gardener's story--a tale for someone who enjoys the process, from planting the seeds to appreciating the beauty of the end product. I loved the vivid descriptions of all the particular plants, trees, and animals...But if I'm being honest, this book got a bit intense for me. As Colin begins to feel the healing powers of the garden...as he begins to chant and sing his praises to the "magic"...(and on and on about "the magic"), I really began to feel the author's personal philosphies taking over. The introduction suggests that Burnett infused the comfort she found in Christian Science teachings after her son died into this story about the power of mind over body. Hmmmm. I think what kept me from totally being sold on this novel is that I did try to read it as an adult. I was unable to enjoy the narrative literally and at face-value. I was digging in....always watchful for the deeper meaning. And Burnett's ideas were already at the surface, perhaps a little heavy-handedly at times.Overall...a nice story, perhaps best enjoyed through the innocent, unaffected eyes of a child.
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  • Merna
    February 17, 2013
    1 star for a classic?What a scandal.Well, it is the first classic that I'm giving 1 star for so it’s fairly a big deal.Although I did not finish this, I already know how the book wraps up. (view spoiler)[Take a guess. Bratty kid. Mean uncle. Sick kid. (hide spoiler)] Here's the thing: Classics deal with universal ideas. The Secret Garden deals with kids who have been neglected emotionally by their parents, and even though it's overdone now days, I can understand why it was so popular a century a 1 star for a classic?What a scandal.Well, it is the first classic that I'm giving 1 star for so it’s fairly a big deal.Although I did not finish this, I already know how the book wraps up. (view spoiler)[Take a guess. Bratty kid. Mean uncle. Sick kid. (hide spoiler)] Here's the thing: Classics deal with universal ideas. The Secret Garden deals with kids who have been neglected emotionally by their parents, and even though it's overdone now days, I can understand why it was so popular a century ago. I already know the character will have some self-realization about the fact that she’s a little bitchy, ungrateful kid (of course, she will still be racist), and she will live happily ever after with her uncle, never attending school because she’s a stupid female. “Oh, she doesn’t need school, she needs to jump more rope!” I just can't connect with a story about a spoiled little rich kid who finds out that they can actually be nice, but it warms my heart to know everyone is capable of such emotion. Still, the fact that Mary remains unappreciative to having the opportunity to live and experience two places (India and England) proves the whole book is a lie and that she will always be a bratty kid. I believe the message of the book was loud and clear: if you grow up in a shitty environment then expect yourself to be shitty too. The message was not: be a nice person even if you're rich.And if I have to read one more line of Martha talking, I'll lose it. Can the women speak properly? I don't care if it’s some accent. It’s goddamn annoying reading it. I also believe her brother was on meth because he would go around the field saying, “ahahaha canna tha’ can you hears the birds and smell the honey…”Classic? Please!EDIT: No need to point out to me that racism was the norm in the early 20th century. I held no illusion that was contrary to that. However, I also believe that it was not necessarily something everyone subscribed to even back then. There are people born far earlier than Frances Hodgeson Burnett and held far more progressive beliefs and were not so easily led by society to subscribe to such notions. What of men such as William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips after all?Their code of ethics and morals were above a novel whose main purpose was ironically to teach about morals. This is what essentially annoys about this novel. I don't care for racism in other books. H.P Lovecraft's racism doesn't disturb me, his stories weren't written to teach kids about morality or goodness.It's the fact that this book is dedicated to correcting the behavior and morals of a child at every instance. However, when the child says, "blacks are not people" and no one bothers to contradict her then whatever message this book was attempting to delivery about morality is lost. The author is a "product of her time." Give me a break! Sorry, I didn't realize that you had to be born at a particular period of human history to see others of different appearance as human.
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  • Carmine
    July 25, 2015
    Uno degli aspetti più strani della vita è che solo di tanto in tanto siamo sicuri di vivere a lungo, molto a lungo, forse per sempre. La vita è troppo breve per serbare rancori, arrendersi, costruire dei muri intorno a sé..."Il giardino segreto" è l'emozionante resurrezione di due personaggi, ognuno dei due colpevole per colpe altrui ed entrambi silenziosamente desiderosi di amicizia e amore, sentimenti per lungo tempo negati.Viviamo in una società ove facciamo coincidere il nostro benessere co Uno degli aspetti più strani della vita è che solo di tanto in tanto siamo sicuri di vivere a lungo, molto a lungo, forse per sempre. La vita è troppo breve per serbare rancori, arrendersi, costruire dei muri intorno a sé..."Il giardino segreto" è l'emozionante resurrezione di due personaggi, ognuno dei due colpevole per colpe altrui ed entrambi silenziosamente desiderosi di amicizia e amore, sentimenti per lungo tempo negati.Viviamo in una società ove facciamo coincidere il nostro benessere con elementi sempre più sopra le righe ed elaborati, quando in verità è proprio nelle piccole cose che possiamo ritrovare noi stessi.L' esaltazione della vita sgorga con naturalezza dalle parole della Burnett, la quale ci ricorda che il miglioramento del mondo parte sempre con una rinascita interiore, con l'accettazione del nostro giardino segreto.
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  • Nikoleta
    April 14, 2013
    Ο Μυστικός κήπος είναι ένα όμορφο παραμύθι, αλλά και πολλά περισσότερα από αυτό. Είναι μια αλληγορική ιστορία που μιλάει για την ψυχή, που όταν της δίνεις ήλιο, νερό, την αγαπάς, ανθίζει σαν τις τριανταφυλλιές του μυστικού κήπου. Τι μπορεί να θέλει ο άνθρωπος περισσότερο από αγάπη; Μια ιστορία που πρέπει να είναι μέσα στα πρώτα 5 βιβλία που δίνουμε στα παιδιά μας να διαβάσουν.
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  • Yona
    October 24, 2014
    This whole book was pure magic and I loved it.
  • Sarah
    May 14, 2016
    Read this novel and you will start dreaming about your very own secret garden."If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden."This is one of my favorite quotes that makes me see colors in the world again.I couldn't resist reading it after watching the lovely movie "The Secret Garden (1993)" that was completely different .. But you need to watch it after all because it will simply make you happy and you will smile. I just had to think a lot about what to write and event Read this novel and you will start dreaming about your very own secret garden."If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden."This is one of my favorite quotes that makes me see colors in the world again.I couldn't resist reading it after watching the lovely movie "The Secret Garden (1993)" that was completely different .. But you need to watch it after all because it will simply make you happy and you will smile. I just had to think a lot about what to write and eventually it is just one word to say about it .. "Beautiful".The characters (Mistress Mary, Dickon, and Master Colin) They were described beautifully and precisely .. I found out that I'm somehow like Mary and Colin .. Just in desperate need of a garden and moor to spend my days there and be happy and healthy again. All those lovely creatures that are used to be with Dickon all the time .. I really wish to have them all with their animal charmer "Dickon".The way Frances describes the places, the characters and all the details made everything seem so real.You have to read this one and forget everything about the problems of the grown ups and difficulties in the books we read .. Have a good time reading it :))رواية تستحق أكثر من مجرد قراءة .. إنها تستحق أن نحياها بكل تفاصيلها أخذتني من عالمنا المزعج لعالم جميل آخر كله ورود وسعادة وابتسامة حياة جديدة أحتاج أن اعثر عليها لأعيشها بكل تفاصيلها مثل الشخصياتأثناء قرائتها كنت احلم كثيرا بحديقتي الخاصة السرية والورد والفراشات .. وبعد إنتهائها اشعر بالخوف من أن تتوقف تلك الأحلام إنها إحدي تلك الروايات التي تشعرنا بأننا فقدنا صديق عزيز عند إنتهائها كم التفاصيل الموجود فيها عن كل الشخصيات والأماكن لشئ مبهر حقا تجعلك تتخيل كل تفصيله ولو صغيره عن كل شئ قد تم ذكرة في الرواية شاهدت الفيلم قبل الرواية وأعتقد أنه السبب في أنني قررت البدأ في الرواية ولم أندم علي هذا القرار فالفيلم شئ والرواية شئ آخر .. تشابة الأسماء وبعض الصفات فقط لكن مع وجود شخصيات أكثر وأحداث مختلفه وتفاصيل غريبة كثيرة في الرواية كل ما يقال عنها انها في منتهي الروعة وتستحق بالطبع القراءة
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  • Simon
    January 12, 2012
    ****SPOILERS****OK, I must have read and loved this book 40 or so years ago. (Yikes!) I liked it a lot this time round, but it was troubling to me in several ways. It starts off as the story of Mary, a girl suffering from epic neglect. (Her entire household in Colonial India, parents, servants, everyone, die from cholera or flee the house with no-one bothering to think about her, leaving her alone, not knowing what's happening, if anyone is there, scavenging for food from unfinished meals on the ****SPOILERS****OK, I must have read and loved this book 40 or so years ago. (Yikes!) I liked it a lot this time round, but it was troubling to me in several ways. It starts off as the story of Mary, a girl suffering from epic neglect. (Her entire household in Colonial India, parents, servants, everyone, die from cholera or flee the house with no-one bothering to think about her, leaving her alone, not knowing what's happening, if anyone is there, scavenging for food from unfinished meals on the table. How's that for a brutal opening of a (children's) novel?) The description of her neglect is so clear and strong that one cannot help but feel that the author must feel some sympathy for her character, but amazingly, she dwells on her unpleasantness to such an extent that one can't be sure she isn't censuring her strongly.Well, it starts off as Mary's story, and one is prepared for the 'coming alive' she is going to experience, when.... the damn thing gets hijacked by Colin, a little boy at her uncle's house in Yorkshire (where she is sent) who is her male counterpart, his mother dead at or near his birth, shunned by his self-absorbed father, loathed by the army of nurses and doctors over whom he rules tyrannically by virtue of their desire to prevent his tantrums. Well, it's hijacked by Colin, but it's hijacked again, right at the very end, by Colin's father whose own unpleasantness, though less obvious than Colin's and Mary's, is certainly more culpable in that his began in adulthood and led him simply to forget the existence of his son. But, happily, through Mary's work on Colin, and Colin's own working of what he calls Magic, the paterfamilias and his male heir are finally restored to happiness, Mary entirely forgotten. And there's Dickon, the young peasant boy who is the symbol of the healing powers of nature. He absolves the function of the Magic Negro here, an oppressed outsider (by virtue of class here, not race) whose wisdom and power is harnessed by, and makes his (and his family's) poverty somehow less awful to, the ruling class. His fate, after the novel, was almost certainly to be killed in the trenches of Flanders, probably as Colin's batman. (Colin's right to order everyone around, Dickon, Mary, the old gardener Ben Weatherstaff, the doctor, is never questioned.)And the Magic! Obviously there's a lot of good sense in Burnett's views about health and happiness - nature, care for animals and plants, eating well, fresh air and exercise, but there's a new-agey self-help side to it that gets a bit nauseous: repeating over and over to yourself "yes, I can," having one good thought a day, etc. etc.
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  • Vicki
    July 29, 2015
    This is a book I have read over and over again. With the lovely characters that grow in stature, strength, and wisdom through the book, it is a wonderful progression. From the moment you meet pinched faced Mary, you come to love the little girl that has lost so much. Her sadness has become a part of her and one that she struggles to throw off. Her curiosity is lovely and brings Colin and Dicken into the picture. What a lovely lively trio they are. Each one overcoming great sadness, pain and soli This is a book I have read over and over again. With the lovely characters that grow in stature, strength, and wisdom through the book, it is a wonderful progression. From the moment you meet pinched faced Mary, you come to love the little girl that has lost so much. Her sadness has become a part of her and one that she struggles to throw off. Her curiosity is lovely and brings Colin and Dicken into the picture. What a lovely lively trio they are. Each one overcoming great sadness, pain and solitude. This book gave my heart wings. I was a sad child until I read The Secret Garden. Then I began to search for happiness just as Mary had taught. This book was life changing for me as a small child and continues to raise the bar in my search for happiness.
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  • Cheryl
    January 5, 2014
    Frances Hodgson Burnett looked to gardening for healing from grief and mental collapse--she also believed in metaphysical healing. Every day she wrote in a "walled rose garden." She loved reading Dickens and Charlotte Bronte. It shows in this book. Nature and fresh air--all symbolisms. How can someone write about these simple elements and leave you interested? They throw in a couple of children protagonists who are psychologically and physically healed from a hidden, charitable garden. They spri Frances Hodgson Burnett looked to gardening for healing from grief and mental collapse--she also believed in metaphysical healing. Every day she wrote in a "walled rose garden." She loved reading Dickens and Charlotte Bronte. It shows in this book. Nature and fresh air--all symbolisms. How can someone write about these simple elements and leave you interested? They throw in a couple of children protagonists who are psychologically and physically healed from a hidden, charitable garden. They sprinkle some Yorkshire dialect. Then add a story that moves with masterful pacing. Little Miss Mary is all but contrary. She is an inspirational heroine who it turns out isn't trying to be disagreeable, but is trying to carve her space in a world that has never seemed to embrace her since birth. She is authentic--even though during the Victorian age upper-class children were expected to behave like miniature adults, so at times she comes off saying some things that sound beyond her age. Both she and Colin, the young boy who is also a hypochondriac, are convincing nineteenth-century characters. Mary is a brat in the beginning, a child abandoned by her parents, who lacks people skills. Yet you still get to like her. How, I'm not sure. I guess it speaks to Burnett's talents as a writer. Sure, I could have done without the references to how ugly the child was. I also could have done without the antagonistic inferences to Indians as "blacks" and inferior (honestly, had it overwhelmed the story and been more than character-inner-thought highlighted through a couple of short dialogue interchanges, I would have taken more than a star away and stopped reading--classic or not). Then agin, there is the context to keep in mind: Burnett writes about the era after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, when India fell under British rule, she places Mary's father as a member of the British colonial administration in India (started during the 1700s I believe). India gained independence in 1948 and this book was first published around 1911. So there you have it. Mary returned to London from India after her family died of cholera (again Burnett is writing about the huge cholera outbreak in India between 1898 and 1907 that killed over 300,000 people), and was greeted with some standoffishness: she was the "child from India, " and so surely, something must have been different about her since no one around her knew anything about that part of the world--except for the negative things they had heard. Frankly, you even sense that Burnett also doesn't know much about the country or its people. And yet the story of the two children, Mary and Colin--even Dickon--is an endearing one about the ever-changing world of a child, and a rare glimpse into the psychological realism of the young protagonist.
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  • Jamie
    May 8, 2011
    I finally read this after all these years. I loved the movies based on the book and now I have read it to see which version is the most accurate to the story. Frances Burnett made the characters fun, easy and enjoyable to read about! I especially liked the various point-of-views you read. From the staff, gardeners, and even the bird!
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  • Serena.. Sery-ously?
    May 23, 2012
    Giustamente, quando uno non vuole far trovare una chiave mica la butta, no: la sotterra vicino alla porta :3Lo so, purtroppo leggo e rileggo il libro e continua a rimanermi questo tarlo.. Per il resto amo questo libro come quando l'ho letto 20 anni fa** :')**VENTI ANNI?? ... VENTIANNI?!?! Dov'è finita la mia giovinezza!!!
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  • AMEERA
    August 3, 2016
    4/5perfect I loved it
  • Jacquelyn
    November 20, 2008
    Genre: Historical fiction Reading level: Ages 9-12Want to know the Secret? This book was written almost a century before Byrne and Oprah shared their version. The garden is only the beginning of the story of a brat, orphaned in India, who moves to huge lonely house in Yorkshire, England. It isn’t only the wind that haunts the moors, but the wails of her tyrant cousin. With the help of a local family, the two children learn to heal their bodies and minds with fresh air, exercise, and a little man Genre: Historical fiction Reading level: Ages 9-12Want to know the Secret? This book was written almost a century before Byrne and Oprah shared their version. The garden is only the beginning of the story of a brat, orphaned in India, who moves to huge lonely house in Yorkshire, England. It isn’t only the wind that haunts the moors, but the wails of her tyrant cousin. With the help of a local family, the two children learn to heal their bodies and minds with fresh air, exercise, and a little manual labor. Burnett’s classic story will strike a chord with those who think today’s children are spoiled and spend too much time indoors. The cousins, rich in material possessions learn much from their poor neighbors whose wisdom is priceless. Tudor’s illustrations offer poignant black and white headings for each chapter. Her lovely full color paintings, sprinkled within the pages, provide a more detailed look at the characters in the story.Other books about lonely children:Chang’s paper pony, Eleanor Coerr (easy reader)The ghost of Lizard Light, Elvira WoodruffHenry and Mudge (series), Cynthia Rylant (easy reader)
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  • Amy (shoutame)
    August 31, 2016
    I can't believe I have taken this long to read this book. The Secret Garden is one of my all time favourite films from when I was younger, I can always remember it being on the TV of a Sunday afternoon so I had a feeling I would love the book just as much.We follow the young Mary Lennox as she is sent over from India to live with her Uncle in England, this is due to the fact that both of Mary's parents have passed away and she has nowhere else to go. We soon learn that Mary is a pretty unlikable I can't believe I have taken this long to read this book. The Secret Garden is one of my all time favourite films from when I was younger, I can always remember it being on the TV of a Sunday afternoon so I had a feeling I would love the book just as much.We follow the young Mary Lennox as she is sent over from India to live with her Uncle in England, this is due to the fact that both of Mary's parents have passed away and she has nowhere else to go. We soon learn that Mary is a pretty unlikable child with many issues stemming from that fact that she has only ever been waited on hand and foot and never spent time with children her own age. Whilst trying to adapt to her new life in England Mary is left to occupy herself in the large gardens of her Uncle's estate, this is how she hears of the secret garden that no one has entered in ten years. Mary sets out to discover the whereabouts of the secret garden and the adventure begins there!This is truly such a wonderful novel, I think Frances Hodgson Burnett writes brilliantly endearing characters and Mary is definitely one of those! This is a classic that everyone should have on their shelves.
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  • Paula W
    November 28, 2016
    AKA "How To Turn Some Jerk Kids Into Okay Humans", because Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow. This is one of my favorite reads of the year. It was sappy, corny in places, and a bit over-the-top in others, but it was still awesome. Nourish the things you love; do it not just with food, but with compassion and understanding and knowledge and encouragement. You'd be amazed what might grow in that little garden with a tiny bit of effort.
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  • Ferdy
    March 28, 2013
    Four stars because:-I love ALL Children's books — classics and non-classics alike. I don't care how rubbish the story or characters are, I still end up loving them. There's just something charming about them.There's no teenage angst, adult bullshit, love triangles, teens saving the world, insta-love or Mary Sues/Marty Sues (okay there is kind of one Mary Sue in TSG but he didn't bother me too much). Its storytelling that doesn't rely 100% on cliched characters or tropey plot lines. Although they Four stars because:-I love ALL Children's books — classics and non-classics alike. I don't care how rubbish the story or characters are, I still end up loving them. There's just something charming about them.There's no teenage angst, adult bullshit, love triangles, teens saving the world, insta-love or Mary Sues/Marty Sues (okay there is kind of one Mary Sue in TSG but he didn't bother me too much). Its storytelling that doesn't rely 100% on cliched characters or tropey plot lines. Although they are cliches/tropes in The Secret Garden, they're not to the level of books I normally read (YA/UF/PNR).-Nostalgia. I read and watched the movie as a child and though I didn't remember much of it… it did remind me of the sunny carefree days of my childhood. Which is always a good thing.-Mary. Yes, most people will find her unlikeable but I loved her. I thoroughly liked her rude, spoilt and cold attitude — it was a breath of fresh air to read a protagonist that wasn't a little-miss-perfect-self-sacrificing-I-love-everyone type. And I honestly didn't blame Mary for her attitude, I actually think she turned out rather well considering her own parents ignored her and disliked her. At the end, Mary was less mean and more nicer but I liked that she didn't completely lose her bluntness and attitude.-The descriptions of the garden was kind of magical. I don't find gardens/flowers and all that stuff interesting but the way FHB depicted the garden made me feel all hopeful and giddy and like every day was spring or some shit… Which shouldn't really be a good thing because I kind of hate spring.What I didn't like:-There were A LOT of parts that dragged or served no purpose and were just a non-story. It was difficult to get through at times.-The repeated talk of how fresh air, walking and physical activity made everyone happy and healthy… LIES! Everyone knows lazing around and doing nothing is the best thing like ever.-Dickon. He was such a Mary Sue. Ugh. He was rather like a fairytale character, the way all those animals followed him around. I thought his mum was cool though.-Colin. What a pathetic loser. I think I mainly disliked how he took over the story towards the end. I wanted to read about Mary's journey and I hated how it became the Colin show in the latter half. -Colin's dad. He ignores his son all his life because he thinks he's a cripple and thus not good enough or worthy enough of his time. WHAT A DICK! The only reason he gave Colin the time of day at the very end was because he was strong and healthy. If Colin had been wheelchair bound, his dad would have just sneered at him and fucked off around the world. Ugh. Even though I had a number of issues with The Secret Garden, I still loved it overall. So I've decided to read more Children's books, I'm tired of the YA/UF/PNR books I ALWAYS read, I do still want to read those genres but I need to give myself breaks so I don't completely end up hating them (and myself in the process). I'll be reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass as my next Children's Classic.
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  • Nikki
    July 22, 2012
    Two days after surgery to remove one of my internal organs, I think I can be forgiven for lapsing into extreme nostalgia... at least I haven't reached for my illustrated copy of Heidi yet? I didn't actually have an illustrated copy of The Secret Garden, growing up -- or if it did have illustrations, they were few and far between, and in black and white. But I read the book to bits (I still have a copy held together with brown tape), and even a non-visual person like me builds up some mental imag Two days after surgery to remove one of my internal organs, I think I can be forgiven for lapsing into extreme nostalgia... at least I haven't reached for my illustrated copy of Heidi yet? I didn't actually have an illustrated copy of The Secret Garden, growing up -- or if it did have illustrations, they were few and far between, and in black and white. But I read the book to bits (I still have a copy held together with brown tape), and even a non-visual person like me builds up some mental image of the characters and so on, apparently. It took me a while to get used to the artwork in this illustrated edition, but I eventually decided it matched very well and I could get along with it just fine.As to the story itself, well, I am too biased to really comment. I used to lie awake at night reading it and listening to the wind "wuthering" -- the fact that the book was set in Yorkshire, where I grew up, added to its attractions for me. I loved the start of the book, the idea of the girl left alone in that deserted place: I used to love to imagine that, and also to imagine her later explorations of the mansion in Yorkshire... Despite her being "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary", I think I liked to imagine myself in Mary's place -- I guess everyone would like to be the breath of fresh air that mixes everything up and changes everything for the better, so maybe it's not too surprising.
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