jo's Reviews > The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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's review
Dec 05, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: kidlit
Read in November, 2007

This was one of my favorite books as a child, and I still love it. I love that Mary & Colin blossom as the garden blossoms, and that when they focus their energies on helping something else to grow, they begin to grow too. It's really a beautiful story.

Reading it again as an adult, it was a little hard to get past some of the eurocentric notions (the pure, healthy English air essentially "cures" Mary of her Indian-ness) and there's a bit of law-of-attraction rhetoric ala "The Secret" which I happen to disagree with (I do believe that focusing on good, positive things makes a huge difference, but I don't, for instance, believe that the neighbor woman in "The Secret Garden" brought her husband's physical abuse on herself by not focusing on the positive).

None of this, though, changes the fact that it is a beautiful story that is filled with an incredible sense of wonder. It's one of those books that makes you sorry you've reached the end.
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-6 of 6) </span> <span class="smallText">(6 new)</span>

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message 1: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:02PM) (new)

Anna I just re-read this last year! I was surprised by how differently I'd remembered it...

message 2: by jo (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

jo So far, I remembered it about the same (I did read it about 5 times as a kid), but as a kid I didn't notice the blatant eurocentrism. Like how the fresh English moor air "cures" her of being "yellow" and Indian and makes her sweet and kind and "human". I love the book still, but can you recommend this kind of thing to a kid anymore?

message 3: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:03PM) (new)

Anna Exactly--that's the stuff I noticed that I never picked up on when I was younger. Right over my head. My guess is that kids (now, too) would skim right over those things they don't get and focus on the good stuff: nasty Colin, angelic Dickon (a bit too angelic for my liking upon adult reading!), and the garden. We'll have to test it on Tea and Ella in a couple years (when did you first read it?).

message 4: by jo (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

jo Oh, come on. Rosy-cheeked Dickon can tame lambs and rooks and squirrels and he gets up before dawn to help his poor mother with chores. Please. What's not to like? Are you trying to say you *didn't* know a dozen boys like this when you were growing up? I don't know who *you* hung out with! I don't know, I was probably in 3rd grade when I read it. It was the same year I got Hans Brinker & the Silver Skates for Christmas.

Speaking of crazy racist stuff in middle grade books...have you read Mary Poppins?

Ruth There is an awful sequel to it by Susan Moody please don't not read it. It will kill the classic for you.

message 6: by Ally (new)

Ally The brand new group - Bright Young Things - is nominating books to read in January & The Secret Garden is among them. Its the perfect place to discuss your favourite books and authors from the early 20th Century, why not take a look...

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