The Secret Garden – Book Club

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Release Date:  1911
Number of pages:  204
Source: Amazon Purchase
YA/Middle Grade/Classics
Rating: PG
Read 11/13/20 to 12/4/20

One of the most beloved children’s books of all time and the inspiration for a feature film, a television miniseries, and a Broadway musical, The Secret Garden is the best-known work of Frances Hodgson Burnett. In this unforgettable story, three children find healing and friendship in a magical forgotten garden on the haunting Yorkshire moors.

This book has been on my TBR since I was a child myself. I’ve just never gotten around to for some reason. That’s exactly why it picked it for my book club pick this time. It’s always a bit of a peculiar thing to come to a childhood classic for the first time as an adult. Not only is your mindset totally different than that of a pre-teen, but you’re also dealing with change in societal norms from the time the book was first published.

The descriptions of nature in this story are fabulous. I adore the fall, but reading about the birds and green shoots and flowers as the world outside my window is getting ready to hibernate really made me long for spring. The author not only paints a beautiful visual, but I could also could almost hear the sounds of the critters and smell the fresh turned earth.

Mary and Colin are really quite disagreeable children. Due to their upbringing, I was inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Which is exactly why I love the Sowerby family, starting with Martha. Although Martha doesn’t seem to get as much credit for the turnaround of the children in Misselthwaite Manor, she was the first one to stand up to Mary, so to speak. It wasn’t so much impudence or sass, but truly not understanding the odd ways Mary had and being outspoken about those things. Mary’s transformation started with Martha, and snowballed once Dickon Sowerby came into the picture. Which then put Mary into the position to be a catalyst for Colin’s transformation.

Because this story was published in the early 1900’s, there were definitely issues with how these children were raised and talked about. These are things I could push aside, knowing it has to do with the times. There were a few things really rubbed me the wrong way, though. Things that I feel I would want to discuss with a young reader of this story. Where I think this read can be wonderful for all ages, some may need some guidance. The lesson that came across to me was how much your attitude about yourself and the world around you can actually change you from the inside out. I believe different people will get different things from this book, and that’s a good marker of what makes a book a classic.

4 stars

My book club met via Zoom, yet again, a few days after Christmas. It was great to catch up, but sad since most of us would have all been together for Christmas Eve in years past.

This seemed to be a good pick for everyone. I wasn’t alone in having not read the story yet, which surprised me. But everyone said they, like me, probably wouldn’t have picked it up unless it was for book club. There was curiosity, but so many other things to read. That being said, they were all glad I had chosen the book for book club because they were glad they read the story. In other words, if you haven’t read this story you need to get on it asap!

Don’t forget, I still owe you a book club review for Becoming. That should come some time next week.

Our next book club meeting will be February 23. We’re still planning on meeting by Zoom. We know we’re not out of the woods with Covid just yet and don’t want to add to the problem by getting together in person. We’ll be reading Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. Funny story, the woman who picked the story never saw Christmas with the Kranks and didn’t realize there is a movie based on this book. I really thought the movie was cute so think I’ll enjoy the book.

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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2 Responses to The Secret Garden – Book Club

  1. Louise H says:

    This was a childhood favourite of mine. One day I will re-read it and see if I still love it as much all these years later!

    • Cheri says:

      I really wish I had read it as a child. I’m sure I would have gotten something different out of it than I did as an adult. But as an adult, I loved the imagery. Something that would have been over my head back then.

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