Review: The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden cover

4 stars – I liked this book; it was good

This is a book that I told myself I would read ever since I heard about it in elementary school. I got my hands on a beautiful, illustrated copy at a local book fair and put it on my list. I started reading this book on February 8, 2022, not knowing what to expect.

Finished reading on February 18, 2022.

A Cute Adventure About Kids Having Fun

This book is about ten-year-old Mary and when she comes to live with her estranged uncle, Archibald Craven, in his manor house on the Yorkshire Moors. She was born in India, and her family being wealthy as they are, she grew up with servants waiting on her all hours of the day. After both of her parents die, she moves to England and is left to her own devices in the manor. As she starts to get outside more, she discovers that there is a garden that’s been locked up for ten years, and no one even knows where the door is. Mary makes it her goal to get inside and make it her own secret garden. Alongside her new friend Dick and the mystery resident of the manor, Mary grows to love the garden and evolve her outlook on life.

Ha, it’s hard to describe the book without spoiling something big—I certainly wouldn’t like this point spoiled for me. It’s something that I was pleasantly surprised to read, and it really got the story going for me. I wasn’t quite sure what the story was really about beyond Mary finding the garden and sneaking around behind the adults’ backs.

Mary is the type of character that you hate at first. I think that can be stated as fact. She is a selfish and spoiled little girl, but you can’t blame her for ending up that way because of her upbringing. Her personality is one that I can understand, and I was rooting for her to grow happy and healthy in her new environment. She is still very much mischievous by the end, but she’s gained friends along the way, and even the crooked, grouchy Lord Craven is less gloomy by the resolution of the story.

It’s a classical book, though there were fewer unfamiliar words used, and rather it was the style of the language that gave away its time period. It’s a juvenile sort of writing, very simple in the way the sentences are constructed and spoken, but that’s of course because this is a children’s book. The writing gave it a carefree, matter-of-fact sort of tone, which I enjoyed.

I’d also like to point out that it’s nice to finally know where the “Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary” rhyme comes from.

This is a book I’d recommend to all my friends to read, and people who enjoy the sort of adventure and secretive investigation of the first Harry Potter book, but without the magic.

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