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When Marnie Was There
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When Marnie Was There

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,880 ratings  ·  282 reviews
Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognises - and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna's first ever friend. ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 2nd 2002 by Harper Collins (first published 1967)
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Julian Poon It doesn't really matter actually. Both have vastly different interpretations, but they are both nonetheless interesting.

Community Reviews

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4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,880 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quite-good
Final rating: 4.5 stars

If you didn't know by now, I'm a die-hard Studio Ghibli fan. It was a huge part of my childhood and thus far, has made all of my favourite movies. So last year when I heard that they were taking a hiatus, I was heartbroken. Fortunately, they made their (most probably) last film before the announcement. After looking into it, I found out that the film is based on this book. The English version of the film will be released in less than a month, and what better time to start
Anna is unhappy. Finding life hard at school and feeling unloved by her foster parents, Anna goes to stay with Mr and Mrs Pegg who live in a Norfolk village by the sea. Anna enjoys her freedom roaming the sand dunes and salt marsh and thinks she longs for solitude until she makes friends with another lonely young girl who lives in a house Anna feels inexplicably drawn to.

The book has beautiful illustrations by Peggy Fortnum, unfortunately our copy was a recent reprint which has given the book a
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: osmosis
Recommended to Mariel by: window lavender
If she really got to know them, and they her, all that would be spoiled. They would be like all the others then- only half friendly. They, from inside, looking curiously at her, outside- expecting her to like what they liked, have what they had, do what they did. And when they found she didn’t, hadn’t, couldn’t- or what ever it was that that always cut her off from the rest- they would lose interest.

I don’t know if nostalgia for what never was is all there is. It feels like that is true, like to
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
”It was raining harder now and she was beginning to get wet, but it did not matter. She was warm inside. She turned and began running back along the dyke, thinking how strange it was—about being ‘inside’ or ‘outside’. It was nothing to do with there being other people, or whether you were ‘an only’, or one of a large family . . . she knew that now—it was something to do with how you were feeling inside yourself.”

Anna is around ten and absolutely friendless. Unable to connect with the other chi
Stefan Bachmann
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Apparently this is going to be a Studio Ghibli movie, and when the bookseller lady in Tokyo told me I was of course like "Must own this nowwwwww" so I bought it and read it and loved it. It's a very quiet, bittersweet book, taking place in England in the early 60's. It has sort of that C.S. Lewis-y feel to it, very British.

It's about a lonely, unhappy orphan who makes friends with another girl who may or may not be real. The mystery of who Marnie really is and whether she even exists is what pro
Cass -  Words on Paper
Dec 12, 2013 marked it as wishlist
Shelves: classics
There will be a new Studio Ghibli film based on this book in 2014! Directed by the man who made the Arietty film, so I'll be expecting gorgeous backdrops and music. :)
Cheryll Manatad
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The book is so enchanting. My heart was filled with so much emotion and my imagination was so free, creating those wonderful scenery that felt so dreamy and magical. I felt like Anna, I can relate with her a lot and how lonely she was sometimes. I love Marnie and how she's created to be like a dream and a reality all together. I love how the book transported me to my own childhood and all those fantasies I once have as well. The pacing of the story is so so good, the storytelling is superb! It i ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
This book is going to haunt me. Not because the animated film based on it is Studio Ghibli's swan song. Not because of the plot itself--which is the tiniest bit predictable in spots. No, it's because these sentences from the first few pages hit me like a punch in the gut: She knew perfectly well that things like parties and best friends and going to tea with people were fine for everyone else, because everyone else was "inside"--inside some sort of invisible magic circle. But Anna herself was ou ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was my absolute favourite book as a child. A really beautiful story about a lonely girl who learns to make friends with the help of another girl, who comes through time to help her. (I won't tell you who the girl is). Beautifully written. Absolutely superb.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Quite by chance, I read about this book somewhere in connection with the Japanese film to be made from it. The book itself, a British children's novel, was published in 1967. It is a quiet, mysterious little book about a lonely little girl, living for the summer with an older couple, foster parents, at the British seaside. She is something of a misfit and is given a lot of freedom to roam the shore alone. She is fascinated with an old house, which appears to be uninhabited, near the water's edge ...more
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, timeslip
What an enchanting book.

I've been wanting to read When Marnie Was There for over a year now, but I had a ridiculous amount of trouble getting my hands on the book. Until the last year or so, it hadn't had many printings, so there aren't all too many copies out there. When Studio Ghibli announced their adaptation, prices for the book rose astronomically. When I was looking to buy the book a year ago, I couldn't find any copy for less than a few hundred dollars (seriously). No library even close
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads

Last year, I marathoned all Studio Ghibli movies and 'When Marnie Was There' is also one of their works. Back then, I didn't know it's based on a book but I picked it up as soon as I found out because let's face it, all of us love comparing the book to the movie. (there wasn't much difference anyway)

Anna, a very quiet girl moves to a village and there, befriends Marlie. That's it. That's the whole story.

Now, I'm not being mean or anything. The story is good. It's about the importance of family,
Rebecca McNutt
This strange yet wonderful little book was filled with mysteries all the way through. Is Marnie an imaginary friend? A ghost? A human girl? This question is what leads the main character searching for her long-lost friend and what makes this book certainly worth reading.
Kai Kai
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ตองไปหาการตูนมาดูซะแลว ...more
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
The Ghibli movie is coming out in Japan soon, so I gave this book a read-through. Maybe now I can try seeing it in the theater even though I probably won't get most of the dialog...

As far as setting, description, and memorable characters go, I found this book an immersing read. The town is based on a real place, and it really feels solid. The author paints a vivid description of Anna's inner mind, so you can always relate to what she's going through.

(One thing I have to ask is why is Anna so sl
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really miss being able to pass little gems like this one onto my mum. She would have adored Anna and Marnie. Anna is a young orphan girl who by her own judgement is both friendless and unloved. Her foster parents send her to live with an elderly couple in Norfolk in a cottage by the sea. She roams the beach and the marshes all day long, becoming fascinated by a large property called Marsh House and the ethereal little girl spied having her hair brushed in an upstairs window. The prose evokes t ...more
A winsome timeslip that I read as a child and like just as much as an adult! My review is available at:
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Here began my love of reading
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Хочу теперь пересмотреть мульт и родить ещё четверых детей.
Katie Fitzgerald
Anna struggles to make friends and frequently gets into trouble at her boarding school, which troubles her foster mother, Mrs. Preston. In order to help Anna, Mrs. Preston, whom Anna calls "Auntie," sends her for an extended summer holiday to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Pegg in Norfolk. While exploring the marshes surrounding the Peggs' house, Anna discovers The Marsh House, and eventually meets Marnie, a young girl always dressed in fine clothing who lives in the house and comes to meet Anna in secr ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well Studio Ghibli, you have made the right choise and that's the reason I picked this book in the first place. I can't imagine any other studio to give this story the justice it deserves, and I'm happy it gets a bigger audience due the film. In Finland you don't seem to find the book anywhere and libraries have put it to the storages to gather dust or have tossed it away from the collections for eternity; and it's a huge shame. Maybe this book doesn't have much readers here and it was published ...more

This was a really touching story. While the prose was beautiful, it was a little jarring to read in such a fancy style compared to most of the other books I've read before. Yet, it was still lovely and I found myself putting this book aside so that I could savor it when I finally did return to read another few chapters. I definitely recommend this if you want to read something relaxing with gorgeous writing and British slang.

I think I will compare this to the movie when I see it so that I can
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I remember being enchanted by this bittersweet book as a kid.
Darius Murretti
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the movie better . The novel was not as dramatic . However the element of mystery and supernatural goose flesh was there . It all makes sense in the end . But the transition to the end was not as brilliant as in the movie . It sort of plodded along a little in the middle and obviously the movie was more condensed and that worked well for the movie. Still the ending is so good that it makes 4 stars .

Plus Im liked the authors daughter writing a final chapter telling how she watched her mo
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
First published in 1967 this children's classic is one I'd never heard of, and am surprised of. It was a great story! The type of thing I would have loved when I was 10, like The Secret Garden or something wistful like that... The loneliness of childhood is something that will always be a favorite subject of children's stories... This was made into Studio Ghibli movie in 2014 and it felt like reading a Miyazaki movie, if you know what I mean...
Another thing about this book is that a kind student
Joaquin Mejia
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I might be growing older but I have begun to appreciate children's books more. Good books for children are not only easy to read but they are also full of beautiful themes. I find children's books very uplifting. I see that people correctly acknowledge that young children need uplifting stories to inspire them. But the need for uplifting stories does not end when childhood ends. In fact, they might need them more when they grow older.

"When Marnie was There" is a children's book that I really enj
I watched the movie about two years ago, but only just got around to reading the book. I really liked the writing; it was easy to get lost in the story. The book is somewhat different than the movie, and I liked the book version better. Even though I already knew how the storyline was going to wrap up, I still felt the waves of emotion, and really had vested interest in Anna’s journey and wanted her to find happiness. I think this would’ve been a favorite read if I had found it as a young teenag ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Fantastic book that really gives a sense of the setting. Audio version excellent as well.

The movie is only three stars. I wish there were a live action that was true to the book and set in Norfolk.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have liked this better had I read it at 12. It's pretty predictable and slight from my 50-something perspective. I'm not unhappy I read it, but it's already slipping away from me.
Ali imanzade
با وجود داستان ساده و ریتمِ آرام و باطمانینهاش، با عظمت و عمیق است ...more
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Around the Year i...: When Marnie Was There, by Joan G. Robinson 1 21 Apr 02, 2016 10:47AM  
Available? 2 16 Aug 04, 2014 09:18PM  
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Joan G. Robinson (1910-88) trained as an illustrator and began writing and illustrating her own stories in 1939. Among her many stories for children are Mary-Mary, When Marnie Was There and the enduringly popular Teddy Robinson. Working closely with her husband, she published over thirty books in her lifetime, many of which were tried and tested on her own family. And her family sometimes found th ...more
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