Publication Date: May 2018 (first published 1911)
Read Date: August 23rd 2018
Genre: Classic / Children’s Fiction
Most of you must be familiar with this mesmerizing classic, an enchanting story of 10-year-old Mary at mysterious Misselthwaite Manor and her discovery of the secret garden and much more. It was about childhood emotions and experience, innocence, growth, positivity, determination, and magic of nature. Though it was written years ago, it is perfect book for today’s generation.
Mary Lennox, born in India, had a difficult secluded childhood. She was grumpy, spoilt and as people tagged her ‘contrary’ to other normal kids of her age. One can’t blame her for her ways because of ignorant parents who acted like they never had a child. I pitied poor girl for that only. When her parents died and she had to move to Misselthwaite. She was quite unhappy and unsure of the new surroundings and new change in life. Here at this mysterious manor Mary found her new self that was brave, considerate, inquisitive, smart and caring.
There were lot of mysteries at the new place that Mary solved bit by bit. The maze like manor, secret garden, sorrowful heart wrenching wailing in the house, that almost gave the book haunting feel, ignited curiosity in her that changed her life entirely. The artistic narration of Mary’s curious wander in these places captivated me.
Development of characters was mind-blowing, specially of Mary and Colin . I loved their relationship and how they turned out by the end of the book. Colin was a sickly, hysteric boy experienced the same ignorant childhood till he met Mary. His tantrums were horrible but I was more surprised by thoughts of adults around him.
I was surprised to read how Mary and Colin’s life were intertwined. The change Martha’s chatter inflicted on Mary, making her realize how queer she was and directed her to the open air, exactly the same Mary did for Colin. They had stark similarity in their nature, childhood, and feeling. Both were such a small kid who haven’t seen world properly least they understood it, what all they gone through was so unfair. How the change in their situations, company brought drastic change in their life. Both were brave and strong kids in their own way.
I didn’t like parents and adults in the book. They let their misery, weakness and shadow of negativity crept in their mind and life deeply that it looked like it was the only thing they gave to their kids. First Mary and then Colin. I’m glad Mr. Craven had a chance to realize his mistake.
Oh how I loved Mary’s first friend, a robin, who brought first smile on miserable ill looking face of Mary. That bird was so friendly, smart and chattery that along with Mary, it made me happy. That small piece of writing from a robin’s POV was cute. Dickon was really a charmer and selfless shining soul. I loved that boy for all he did for Mary and Colin. He charmed his way to their heart and life and brought positivity and liveliness that both kids lacked. He was more mature and developed character for his age. I laughed with Dickon’s mother on reading about Mary and Colin’s play acting. Dickon’s mother was only sensible adult and such a motherly lovely and unforgettable character. I loved all the talk about her through her children. Let’s not forget Martha and Ben Weatherstaff. All these characters were wonderful and played significant role that made the book even more charming.
Narration of plants and animals, moors, Mary and Dickon’s dedication, garden lessons, change in the season and so in the Secret Garden had ability to arouse love for nature in reader. Just how moorland air changed Mary into a fine delightful healthy girl, this book had its own enchanting, healthy, feel good air on readers.
Curiosity, positivity and passion can bring any person alive and can have biggest positive effect on the most negative pessimistic mind was remarkably presented in the book. Last few chapters had insightful messages and speeches that motivated me and brought huge smile on my face. It is not just classic for children but it had a very good message for adults as well.
I also couldn’t help but notice a bits of Indian culture in that era. All the details about native folks and servants were so proper and I like Mary talked about it in Misselthwailt. I had a little bit difficulty in reading sentences with Yorkshire accent. I eventually stopped trying to read the way they were written and converted them in simple accent. It wasn’t a major issue but person like me who doesn’t know how to read/speak Yorkshire accent would appreciate audible format.
It’s a shame I haven’t read this gem before. It was so wonderful to read Mary’s discovery of many hidden secrets at Misselthwaite and more importantly her discovery of herself and lively beautiful life.
Overall, it was emotional, insightful, motivating, feel-good, beautifully written classic that anyone can enjoy.
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Buy Link: Amazon.in
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