on 22 January 2015
This is a fabulous book to read for anyone of any age. You can fully submerse yourself into this book and its characters are fully brought to life along with the Yorkshire accent by the author. I would highly recommend this is a must read for everyone, it is an excellent story and just when you thought you could put the book down you want to read another bit and another bit. It is just like Mary and her desire to find the garden you too will want to find the garden and all its secrets too. Also great, for younger readers to understand how we lived in victorian times and the attitudes between servants, children, adults and the more wealthy.
on 11 November 2015
I know I’ve read this book before, but I really couldn’t remember it at all when I started reading this time round, ready for the #ReturntotheGarden blog tour, so it was like reading a brand new book.
By far my favourite thing about this book is how unlikeable both Mary and Colin are for the majority of the book. It’s great to not have main characters who are always beautiful and bright and charming: Mary is none of these things, and that just makes her feel more real.
The story may feel a little predictable, but that’s probably because it’s such a classic. Of course, when Mary hears about the hidden garden she’s going to resolve to find it. And of course, when she hears a child crying at night, she’s going to find him. And of course, during theses events both sour faced children are going to learn to become better people. It might sound pretty standard but it doesn’t make the story any less charming.
What really comes across in the book is how much Frances Hodgson Burnett loves gardens and plants. You can feel the passion behind the wonderful descriptions as the secret garden slowly comes to life under Mary’s eager hands and Dickon’s experienced ones.
One thing I did struggle with in this book was the Yorkshire accent. I found it really jarring, the way it was written. I think dialogue in classics can be tricky at the best of times, as they can be so different to how we speak today, but with the added complexity of the Yorkshire accent it did slow my reading down as I tried to figure out the words.
There is no doubt that this book is a wonderful children’s classic and it’s one I can imagine reading to my children in the future.
on 19 January 2016
I have literally had this book on my bookshelf for in excess of thirty years and on a whim decided to start reading it – what a treasure. Although it is a child’s book there is much for an adult reader to enjoy. Not least because you can put down your adult thoughts & feelings that are stimulated by coping with living and working in our modern world. Instead the reader is transported back to a different period of time when life was lived at a slower pace – this book was published in 1911, so just pre-WW1 and all of its horrors. I therefore found this book to be something of a stress buster.
The secret garden that has been neglected for ten years provides a much needed sanctuary for two of the main characters of the book: Mary and Colin. Both are ten years old and therefore born at the time that the garden was locked up; both by the time they have lived out their first decade of life, are in desperate need of love. Mary it is who first discovers the garden and she begins to bring the garden back to life, at first alone but quickly she is joined by Dickon, the younger brother of a maid who works in the manor in whose grounds the secret garden is situated. He is something of an animal charmer, deeply connected to nature and although himself also ten years old, plays something of a parental role to Mary and later Colin, the son of the owner of the manor. Both Mary and Colin with Dickon’s help, by their bringing the garden back to life, themselves blossom and heal.
The narrative very clearly sets before the reader the joys and positive outcomes that can be derived from gardening and an appreciation of nature. This was the source of my joy in reading this book.
I am left wanting to know about the author and what her life was like that made her want to and be able to write a book like this. A biography of Frances Hodgson Burnett beckons.
I heartily recommend this book to all children of an appropriate age, so that they may learn to find delight in nature and gardens and to all adults of any age who want a soothing read that lets them forget about all of the technology of our modern world and get back to basics.