Book: The Secret Garden

"The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson BurnettOrphaned and sent to live with her uncle in his austere manor on the moors, Mary Lennox is a lonely and unhappy child. A meeting with Dickon, her servant’s brother begins her adventure and it is through their friendship and her relationship with her troubled hypochondriac cousin Colin that she begins to learn about herself. Their lives all begin to change when a Robin shows Mary the door to a mysterious secret garden.

There’s a reason why some stories become classic. Because no matter how long ago they were written, they could still touch hearts and lives in the present.

My first exposure to The Secret Garden was through a Japanese animated series that was dubbed into the local language. I loved watching cartoons when I was a kid. Yeah, I said cartoons. There were no distinctions back then on whether something was a cartoon or an animé. My mornings, whenever we didn’t have school, was scheduled around the Japanese cartoons that would be shown. One of them was The Secret Garden.

Back then, I loved the plucky character of Mary. Miss Mary who was quite contrary. A girl with an attitude problem sent to live in an almost-abandoned mansion with no one to keep her company. And then she found the Robin, and then the garden, and then she started to like people. It’s a tale of self-discovery, of friendship, of making the most of what you have–and being happy with what was given you. It’s a simple story of choosing to be happy.

Reading The Secret Garden now, I am reminded how great stories don’t need to rely on gimmicks and unexpected twists. All you need is a story that comes from the heart, and the talent to tell that story well. And it also helps to have written the story in the age of innocence, when people weren’t so desensitized with the shock value of the things they’ve seen/read.

This is just my opinion, but I feel we need more stories like this. While I’m a big fan of world-buildin, and great fantastical stories, I can’t help but appreciate the ones that can spin magic in the most ordinary of worlds too.

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11 thoughts on “Book: The Secret Garden

  1. I loved that cartoon when I was a kid, too. Summertime often meant watching those cartoons. 🙂

    I plan to re-read this book soon! Frances Hodgson-Burnett’s books are some of the classics I know I’ve read more than once. 🙂

    • Yes! Alongside “Dogs of Flanders,” “A Little Princess,” and “Cedie!”
      This reminds me… Do you think “Julio and Julia” is based off any classic stories? I don’t remember much about the series, just that Julio is an Asian kid, and Julia is Caucasian–but they’re twins… Haha.

      I’m going to look for other Hodgson-Burnett books! =)

      • Oh I LOVED Dog of Flanders! That one made me cry. There’s also Remy, but I liked the girl version. 😀 I think Cedie is based on another Burnett book – Little Lord Fauntleroy. I still have yet to read that.

        And I remember Julio at Julia! Haha. The theme song automatically played in my head. =))

      • Really?! Now I’ll have to look for a copy of Little Lord Fauntleroy! =) And I don’t remember a boy version of Remy…

        Also, Julio at Julia has one of the catchiest theme songs ever! Haha

    • Haha, it doesn’t!

      But yeah; I hope we get more contemporary books that are like the classics. More heartwarming, more heart-wrenching–and less high concept. Because, some times, high concepts mask the fact that a novel doesn’t have a story at all…

  2. Pingback: Little Lord Fauntleroy / The Secret Garden | One More Page

  3. Pingback: Book: A Little Princess | taking a break

  4. Pingback: Book: Little Lord Fauntleroy | taking a break

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