The Secret Garden The Secret Garden discussion


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Kristen I read this book a LONG time ago. I just watched the Hallmark version and at the end they say Dickon died in the war and Mary and Collin get engaged. Is that stuff actually in the book or was that something that Hallmark added?
Cuz, EW! They're first cousins!!!


MizziQ It was added or maybe taken from another version. That was not in the book, amd yes eew! :)


Joan Anderson The movie/TV version is different from the book.


Anna Thank goodness that was only the movie because if that did happen. I would hate it forever.


Melissa Dee In those days it was not uncommon for first cousins to marry. Jane Austin has first cousins marrying, for example. These days we understand genetics a bit better, I suppose! :p


Kristen Oh, good. I couldn't remember how it ended. It also kind of stinks that they killed off Dickon...


Kristen Melissa wrote: "In those days it was not uncommon for first cousins to marry. Jane Austin has first cousins marrying, for example. These days we understand genetics a bit better, I suppose! :p"

yeah, I guess so...but still, gross! lol


Cassondra Actually, Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert. However, none of that was in the book. I never liked that added epilogue anyway. Especially since the original author didn't say that. I hate taking the author's ideas and characters and adding to it. That is non-canonical, in my opinion.

However, if you want to read the original book for free online, go to http://www.gutenberg.org and search Burnett under authors. "A Little Princess" is also there. There are millions of books free full text on this site because they have lost their copywrite since they were written so long ago. They are completely free and legal to download!


Kristen I'm pretty sure I have it somewhere, I just haven't read it in a long time.

I know, I hate it when people have to 'improve' upon already great books.


message 10: by Anna (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anna I know, I hate it when people have to 'improve' upon already great books."

I hate that when they do!! what's the point? what purpose? sure it's old-fashioned but it's still a great book so quit "improving" it. It doesn't need any improving!!


message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa James The film version is vastly different from the original book, which I had as a girl. Back in those days, it was not uncommon for cousins to marry. remember, back in Egypt, royals married their brothers & sisters! it was thought to be the only way to keep the bloodline "pure" & in those days with the aristocracy, if they intermarried within the related families, the inheritances & titles would never pass OUT of the family.

That's why there was sterility, miscarriage, premature births, high death rates, children who were sick very easily, birth defects, etc. They had no concept of "incest" the way we see it from our modern perspective.


Kristen I guess this book just seems more recent, so it seems more twisted. But yeah, I guess it wasn't really uncommon for cousins to marry. ick...lol


message 13: by Anna (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anna Totally agreed about being married to your cousin is totally weird and I wouldn't do...unless it was my favorite cousin but still. Gross. LOL.


Suchita I would never wanna marry my own cousin because that is so weird and nasty. I haven't seen the movie yet but it's not in the book!


Jackie I would've preferred Dickon to have sustained just a leg injury in the war, then he could've married Mary on his return and become a qualified and affluent vet. I would've had Mary and Dickon consenting to be the godparents of Collin's children - with Collin having happily married some bubbly young aristrocrat who adores him and doesn't die giving birth.


Suchita Jackie wrote: "I would've preferred Dickon to have sustained just a leg injury in the war, then he could've married Mary on his return and become a qualified and affluent vet. I would've had Mary and Dickon cons..."

That sounds like a wonderful ending.


Jackie Thanks, Suzie. My suggestion was only to replace the unsatisfactory 'Hallmark version' of the ending.
I think that the ending in the book was a perfect, wonderful ending - and when films are made they should really remain true to the original story.


Roxanne Hallmark, like Disney, makes stories too sweet, me thinks. Aside from that, this book made me to always want a secret garden. When I was a kid, a secret garden to hide in...Now that I'm Granma, a place for my Grands to find and hide in.
No eerie crying somewhere in the house, however...shudder


message 19: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle Wardhaugh I agree that the epilog from the movie was unnecessary, but I can see why they did it. First off, I, too, wondered how the three grew up, and married, etc. Second, the end the movie chose fits with the Victorian esthetic of the setting. As noted above, cousins did often marry (still do in some cultures), and Dickon was too perfect a character to end well. Victorians loved to wallow in pointless tragedy. Burnette's books have survived so well because she took the tragedy and turned it into triumph, but she wrote others that followed the more conventional plot where doom and devistation lands on beautiful and idealized youth. Those books haven't been reprinted in a long time, and you'd be hard pressed to find a copy of them now. So the ending given by the movie might realistically have been what the author would have given it, not because of anything in Secret Garden's plot, but because that is the way many Victorian era authors might have ended it.


message 20: by Tena (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tena Kristen wrote: "I'm pretty sure I have it somewhere, I just haven't read it in a long time.

I know, I hate it when people have to 'improve' upon already great books."


I agree that people shouldn't try to "improve" on great books but if a new author can find a way to continue the story without losing the integrity of the original, and can keep the characters true to themselves, I would be interested to look into it. Would you?


message 21: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara Lisa wrote: "The film version is vastly different from the original book, which I had as a girl. Back in those days, it was not uncommon for cousins to marry. remember, back in Egypt, royals married their bro..."

Slight correction, Lisa: Royals in Egypt married half-brothers and sisters, because it was considered a way to keep the bloodline "pure" without ending up with the problems of a family tree that ran in a straight line and the inevitable genetic problems that provided (which it seems the Egyptians were quite aware of at the time).


Kristen Tena wrote: "Kristen wrote: "I'm pretty sure I have it somewhere, I just haven't read it in a long time.

I know, I hate it when people have to 'improve' upon already great books."

I agree that people shou..."



Sure, I like a little fan fiction here and there. Exploring the possibilities and all. But I don't like substituting a new idea and passing it off as the original author's idea. And I hate changing important things from books when they're turned into movies. I personally didn't feel like Mary and Collin were gonna get together. I always wanted her with Dickon. But that's me...
Maybe it was the author's original idea and that would have been fine, but it wasn't written. Personally I prefer movies to stay as close to the book as possible without trying to improve it. People screw up so many movies that way...

But it wasn't a completely horrific addition, I guess. I just couldn't remember if it was actually in there or not.


Danielle Anna C. wrote: "I know, I hate it when people have to 'improve' upon already great books."

I hate that when they do!! what's the point? what purpose? sure it's old-fashioned but it's still a great book so quit "i..."


I agree.


message 24: by Dana (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dana I just recently finished it:
It ends with Collin and his father walking back up the garden path to show everyone that he can walk and that nothing is wrong with him and he is not dying.
After he finds them laughing and running through the secret garden, tells nothing of the future.


message 25: by Dana (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dana Sara wrote: "Lisa wrote: "The film version is vastly different from the original book, which I had as a girl. Back in those days, it was not uncommon for cousins to marry. remember, back in Egypt, royals marr..."

I totally agree! If the book is already great why change it?


Gabriella The book was very deep... (view spoiler)


message 27: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten Such a classic. My mom read this to me at bedtime when I was about 8 years old. I have such sentimental fondness for it.


Angie My first English book to read without being told by school. I really love it.

No one got engaged and no one died in the end. In fact, the story never has an Epilogue of what happened in the future.

Marriage between cousins, in the occidental culture, may not see correct, but in cultures like in Japan is not seen as incest (in Japan, is considered incest if the marriage is between same-blood siblings)


Kristen I never knew they made a sequel! Is it good? Or cheesy?


message 30: by J.M. (last edited Jan 22, 2012 09:18PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

J.M. Ney-Grimm I doubt the author would have approved of the epilogue. The whole focus of the story was about how one's inner life affects and shapes one's outer life. Mary and Colin both learn how to release their negative expectations and become willing and able to notice and receive the good experiences newly available to them. It's not a book about "what event happens next" so much as one about "what inner change occurs next." The epilogue (which I have not seen) sounds as though it is overly concerned with outer happenings. The DVD my children have does not include this afterword, and I enjoyed it. It captures the loneliness of Mary's first arrival at the manor in Yorkshire beautifully.


Nadya Booyse Not in the book, BUT also it was fine for people to get married being first cousins back then. See Wuthering Heights to confirm this fact.


Nadya Booyse PS- I also feel that Dickon and Mary were better suited, but the class status might've dictated otherwise.


Megan There's another sequel by Susan Moody called Return the the Secret Garden, complete with love triangles. Definitely written more for an adult audience.


Weiting It obviously did not happen in the book.
And really that's disgusting!


Audrey Klosterman Totally added! (YUCK!) i didn't really like the hallmark version but there was another movie that was basically the book acted out!


Audrey Klosterman Besides if that happened I would HATE it!!!!!! >:(


Hayley Linfield I agree Jackie. The book leaves them as children, but were they to grow up, Dickon for Mary all the way. As a child I think I was in love with him myself!


Ms Bridget There may have been a couple different versions..But I think in the main version, that most have read, they remained kids. I read this book earlier this year I believe it was {or late last year}..Although I like the book, I loved the movie more...But I said I would start reading the classics and when I saw this one at the library, I said this one would add to that collection.. :-)


message 39: by Lei (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lei OMG i really hope that's not true because i was counting on the Dickon and Mary!! Plus Mary and Collin??? Yuck!! They're so closely related!! Find my review of this book to see what i think the ending should have been if they grew up and the book didn't leave when they were still kids. I love Dickon... i fell in love with him myself!!


message 40: by Lei (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lei Jackie wrote: "I would've preferred Dickon to have sustained just a leg injury in the war, then he could've married Mary on his return and become a qualified and affluent vet. I would've had Mary and Dickon cons..."

true dat


Helen I might be wrong but cousins are allowed to marry and I knew of a couple years ago (they incidentally had two children who both had quite severe health problems) so it couldn't be described as incest.


Hayley Linfield Helen wrote: "I might be wrong but cousins are allowed to marry and I knew of a couple years ago (they incidentally had two children who both had quite severe health problems) so it couldn't be described as incest."

It all depends on the time though. Yes, in the fairly recent past cousins were allowed and even encouraged to marry, but that was before we understood that genetic inbreeding was not a good thing. Darwin himself, apparently blamed himself for his daughter's poor health (he married his cousin), when his research made him understand that inbreeding was not a good thing.

How interesting that we are so focused on turning The Secret Garden into a romantic love story when it is not that at all. It's just about friends and imagination and the power of belief.


message 43: by Brenda (last edited Nov 16, 2012 07:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brenda Clough What is interesting about the way the characters (and the author) think about it is that there is this expectation that Colin will be a cripple too, just like Archibald his dad. In other words, they are all assuming it's a heritable defect, not Archibald's developmental issue or perhaps an injury.
If his disability was genetic then no, I would not marry a cousin for any money. There was no way to prove it at that time period, however. Today, you could have premarital genetic counseling.


Caroline I also hated the idea of Mary and Colin getting together not so much because they were cousins although that doesn't seem right, but somehow the chemistry seemed to be there between Dickon and Mary rather than Colin and Mary. Also weren't Colin and Mary's Mums twins which somehow makes Colin and Mary being cousins marrying even worse.


Brenda Clough I don't think there is anything about the sisters being twins, but if they were fraternal twins (not identical) then it should be just as if they were plain old sisters and not a twin birth. There would be no way to tell with the technology of the time.


Caroline Oh OK I just thought that might have been the case, as when Colin's Dad saw Mary for the first time he was stunned and shocked because she looked so much like his late wife.


Hayley Linfield Actually I thought there was some implication that they were twins as well.


Brenda Clough Archibald Craven was so messed up, I assumed that large numbers of people would look like his late wife.


Caroline Colin kept a picture over his bed of his mother and it was commented on by the children also that their mothers looked alike.


Brenda Clough If you've ever seen the musical THE SECRET GARDEN, the characters of the sisters are fleshed out more there. Mrs. Craven (Colin's mother) is the more romantic of the two, marrying for love even though Archibald Craven is hunchbacked and she could not be sure but what it wasn't a heritable trait. Mrs. Lennox (Mary's mother) is more of a butterfly, partying and having a good time and essentially neglecting Mary.


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