Rating: 4 / 5
THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett was March’s pick for the #classicsbuddyread hosted by @freefallinreader. I am sure I read this at some point as a kid, but really didn’t remember anything about it before picking it up again. It was a nice, mostly light story perfect to balance some heavier reads in March.
Though a classic, I wasn’t really familiar with what the actual plot of THE SECRET GARDEN was before reading it again, apart from the fact that there is indeed a secret garden. The story centers on Mary Lennox, a young British girl who was living in India with her family until a cholera outbreak kills her parents. Her parents were less than doting, leaving her to be raised by a nanny while they pursue a life of leisure and fun, so Mary isn’t entirely heartbroken at their loss. The biggest thing Mary must adapt to is relocating to England under the care of her uncle.
Mary has been spoiled with people doing things for her her entire life, so her new life requires a lot of adjustments. Suddenly she has access to full meals and time to herself. She starts out rather prone to fits of anger, but gradually she learns to love everything her new life offers. As she explores the great outdoors, she discovers a walled garden which turns into her sanctuary.
I really enjoyed this story, though it isn’t without its faults. It definitely has some negative impressions to give of India and the people who cared for Mary there. There is also a very repetitive focus on how the children are getting fatter as a sign of increased health. Still, I also remember that the target audience for this narrative is middle school which likely explains some of the repetitive nature. Mary’s character goes through quite a transformation across the span of the book which is very well developed.
It was nice to have a lighter classic read for this month to keep me on track toward the #2020classics goal while still getting a bit of a break!
#NerdReading2020: a book gifted to you (I got this one for Christmas)