The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
I thought it was about time I read this beautiful classic. I watched The Secret Garden movie years ago and still think it is one of the most beautiful movies of all time. With too many deadlines gripping me, I decided I would plug myself into my mp4 player while cooking, and listen to this timeless classic. I am addicted now to being plugged in, while in the world of my kitchen.
This story is even better than the movie, although I have to give the movie credit for following the storyline. The richness of language was divine to my ears. Little did I realise the beauty of classic language and grammar. It almost played mind games as I was transferred into the story just by the language. I will link below the version I got from LibriVox for you.
There are so many ideas incorporated into this book that are still about today. The boy who became well because of the magic, the girl who found her place and strength by connecting with nature and relationships. The old gardener that was softened by the innocence of children. The father that was drawn back home because of the connection to his wife and the garden.
What was the Magic? Believing in you. The thoughts you tell yourself, and self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, this is something that in my teaching degree we were taught all the time. The things you tell a child and how they will come to believe it and try/not try as a result. Colin decides to try an experiment where he tells himself he will get well, walk again and grow to be old. The transformation is more than health but also character growth. Now I have seen friends battle cancer beyond medical intervention because they believed for their children. I have seen children read even though they are 'educationally labelled', because they had the right teacher who told them they could. Our minds are amazing things, and this was known all those years ago, and in a children's book.
Dicken was my favourite character. He had a strength that enticed every other character, yet he wanted for nothing. He sat in the background and quietly supported his friends, the animals, the garden and his family. Even though he was not the 'protagonist' of the story I connected with his ability to support, with no need for recognition or praise, that he gave the world around him. I have friends like Dicken, and they are the friends that I thank God for every day. They are friends that are still with me, decades later.
The book would be nothing without the spirited girl, Mary Lennox. She grows from spoilt to the most giving character in the book. Not only does the garden have a schedule of growth, from dead to alive and beautiful, but so does Mary Lennox. She has no-one when her parents die. In a way, she had no-one before her parents died. She finds the garden and finds life in herself. She gives that life to Colin.
I think I could talk forever about The Secret Garden. Perhaps that is why it is a classic. I would read this over and over, finding something new in each reading while never growing weary of the beauty of the garden. If you haven't read this, then it is about time you curled up with a copy. Or download one and listen while you garden, cook or sit in traffic jams.
If you haven't already found LibriVox then here is the link https://librivox.org/ It has multitudes of public domain audio books that have been read by volunteers. You can either choose files to listen to, or you can volunteer to read for them. This is the place for classics, that are being kept alive by this site.
For 'The Secret Garden' audio that I listened to this is the link https://librivox.org/the-secret-garden-dramatic-reading-by-burnett-frances-hodgson/
When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle's great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.
The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary's only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?
Blub information is cited from Goodreads.com
This was also available from: Book depository, Amazon, Fishpond and most libraries and bookstores