The Secret Garden: a Book Review

9 September 2016

Two unwanted children…share a vitalizing secret… The Secret Garden By Frances Hodgson Burnett Puffin ClassicsRs. 180 Nine-year old Mary Lennox is a disagreeable orphan, who is sent to her uncle’s desolate mansion in England. Misselthwaite Manor, however, conceals plenty of secrets…which seem to be waiting to be discovered… On realising that she has nothing better to do, Mary spends all her time in the vast gardens surrounding her uncle’s mansion.

It is not until the day when a friendly and curious robin leads her to the golden doors of a mysterious garden, that a spark is lit in her dull life. She is acquainted with Dickon, who, according to Mary, is ‘not like anyone else in the world’, and has a special charm for animals. Then, one night, Mary hears – ‘…a curious sound… as if a child were crying somewhere. ’ Following the source of the sound, she is led to the room of her lonely and bedridden cousin, Colin.

She had not known of him previously, as Colin detested being stared at by strangers, believing that he will develop a hunchback like his father. Between Mary, Colin and Dickon, the nearly-dead secret garden flourishes. As the garden prospers with life, Colin ventures to try a scientific experiment, with faith in his all-powerful Magic, which, he believes, is the source of all creation. One senses this Magic in oneself as he reads the book, and feels himself believing in miracles. The reader is taught the philosophy of life, which inspires everyone to be forever optimistic.

A beautiful acquaintance with nature’s gifts is portrayed in this story, and a reader comes to appreciate these gifts, as well as life and beauty. However, the use of the Yorkshire dialect may be confusing, yet intriguing for the critic, at the commencement of the story. Nevertheless, this heartwarming tale will appeal to and be enjoyed by readers of all ages. What is the outcome of this Scientific Experiment? How does it change the lives of all concerned, forever? The answers to these questions lurk within the leaves of this wonderful book, waiting, patiently, to be read.

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