Aug 6, 2010

Nostalgic Friday: The Secret Garden

Welcome back to Nostalgic Friday! Since I love all things historical (culturally, physically, and personally) I do a post on Fridays honoring some awesome book that is a bit older. Many of them are books I enjoyed in my teens and others are books that I discovered as an adult that I think are relevant to YA readers.

The Secret GardenThis week I am featuring a classic of children's literature. The Secret Garden by Fraces Hodgson Burnett was originally released in 1909 and has remained important since that time. It is more popular among girls than boys most likely because the story is told from a young girl's perspective and goes something like this:

Mary is a sad little child due to her lack of parental attention. When her parents suddenly die in a cholera epidemic, she is sent to live with distant relatives back home in England. Her uncle is a morose man, grieving the loss of his wife, and he leaves Mary to entertain herself. She spends most of her days wandering the halls of the manor & exploring the grounds. Along with the help of young staff members Martha & Dickon, Mary begins to tend to a secret/forbidden garden. It belonged to her late aunt & her uncle has locked everyone out.

After solving the mystery of the garden, and beginning to warm up to her surroundings, Mary decides that she will root out the strange noises she hears in the night. It turns out that she has a sickly cousin named Colin. A very ill-tempered boy, Mary begins to visit with him for entertainment. As their friendship grows, Mary, Martha & Dickon share the garden with Colin. The children work together to help Colin get well enough to be able to run and play like other children.

This is such a feel good book. While Mary & Colin have their moments of annoyance and frustration, one can muddle through those parts in order to enjoy the sheer excitement & beauty that is found in the garden & the children's relationships. There is love & loss & so much more in this wonderful book. I really liked Martha & Dickon because while in books of this time period often include servants, rarely are they so animated & lively. These two children are charming & witty in a way that I don't think I've ever seen matched.

There was a fabulous movie adaptation in 1993 (has it really been that long?) that I think does the book justice; which we all know doesn't happen very often. If you're ever in the mood for something childish and memorable, this book will hit the spot. Enjoy!

1 comment:

swiggett said...

I love The Secret Garden!
In elementary school, I read this at least once a year.

Ever see the movie, "Return to the Secret Garden?"