Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
*this review will contain spoilers*
There is really only one word to describe this book: magical.
Ah, it was such a delight to read The Secret Garden again! It was as wonderful as I expected it to be. This book tells the story of young Mary Lennox, who goes to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, at his grand home, Misselthwaite Manor. There she learns of a mysterious garden that was locked up more than ten years ago, and she is determined to find it and discover the truth behind it. Along the way, she meets an extraordinary boy named Dickon, and also stumbles across an even bigger secret tucked away in Misselthwaite Manor.
Spoiled and selfish as she is at the beginning, one can’t help but love Mary Lennox. Mistreated and neglected by her parents, this little girl was bossy, rude, unpleasant and unattractive when I first met her. Mary had never known what love was, so she didn’t know how to show it, the very few times she even felt it.
But two things happened that gradually changed Mary’s hardened heart.
First of all, she finds the secret garden (or rather, the robin was a snitch and showed her the door). Mary finds a purpose in bringing the neglected garden back to life. She finds a spirit and energy she never knew she had, and she transforms from a sour little wench to a bright-eyed, cheerful young lady.
The other thing that happened to Mary was she met Dickon Sowerby. (Now this is a subject you will find me contented to talk about for hours.)
Dickon is delightfully other-worldly. He is one of my favorites. He can make anything grow, he charms the animals and knows all their secrets… he’s a magical, fantastical boy who laughs and smiles his way into my heart. I could listen to him talk for forever; his Yorkshire accent is so cute! He’s caring and responsible, imaginative and whimsical, sweet and endearing. Sometimes I agree with Mary; Dickon is so wonderful that I expect he might disappear at any moment like a fairy. He may not even be real…
Before I say this, I may need to locate a shield with which to protect myself from any flying tomatoes, but I must confess that I am really not endeared at all to Colin Craven. He turns into a pleasant enough boy by the end, and I feel for his desire for his father’s love, but you have to admit, Colin’s just not very likable most of the time. Besides, he was unacceptably jealous and talked badly of Dickon, and I can’t get past that.
I love how Ms. Burnett was not ashamed to spend vast amounts of time describing the beauty and grandeur and captivation of the garden. Those extra details added so much to the story.
And the ending… ah, the ending is so beautiful and sweet! I didn’t cry, but I felt like I could have. To see Mr. Craven realize the joy and happiness he’s been missing, and the heart-jerking reunion of father and son… oh, you should’ve been there.
My rating: 9.0 out of 10
Would I read it again: In a heartbeat!