Mia's Reviews > The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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Jun 24, 13

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I first read 'The Secret Garden' as a young girl growing up in a home that I longed to escape. We had a bit of a yard & my mother grew summer vegetables in a garden plot owned by the old man at the end of the street. But no one, and I mean NO ONE grew flowers just for the sake of it(or for any other reason for that matter!)but between the fence row & our garage grew wild roses. Not only were they beautiful and heavenly scented, they made a lovely bit of 'secret garden' for my sister & me. All you had to do was wiggle, belly to the ground, through the roses and there we were! Hidden from the world with the garage on one side & the roses hiding us from prying eyes front, back & side! We spent hours there, playing Barbie's, reading or just safely away from sharp tongues & wicked hands.

I was captivated that our protagonist was left mostly on her own and I longed to be able to find the kind of freedom & peace with my little sister forever at my side. It was my job, you see, to protect her. No easy feat considering the parents we had & the kind of child my sister was! But I tried ... I really tried.

Fast forward some 30 odd years & find me, bent over the still, nearly lifeless body of my sister who was in a coma. No one would tell me she would live. I feared, as I always had, that wherever my sister was, she might be afraid & I could not bear for her to be afraid. So I talked to her. I wanted her to hear my voice. I told her not to be afraid. I told her where she was & as much as I knew, why she was there. I begged her not to die.

After many days of this, I was running out of words & so I turned, as is my habit in nearly all situations, to books. I began to read to her. The Secret Garden. Every day, I told her where she was & why, I told her she must get better & I read to her.

Many weeks later, my sister woke up. She was not the same. She will never be the same but she IS my sister! While she was in rehab, she began to tell her own story & became angry if anyone tried to tell her it had not happened. She knew it was true!

I came & got her, she said. I took her to basketball games & to the compound of our city's pro football team. I took her all around & we did some pretty amazing things together, my sister & I.
At some point, I realized that when I got to the hospital, her t.v. would be on. Usually, to a sports channel. She also believed I took her to the 'Dr. Phil Show', I assume one of her nurses watched in her room. But she also told me about taking her to the park where the flowers were. And I knew - I KNOW. She heard me.

She told me she was always waiting for me to come & get her. And I always did.

I loved this book as a child because it showed me a different world. I love it now for the same reason but also because it brought my sister back to me.
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