Book Review: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett


Recently arrived at her uncle’s estate, orphaned Mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won’t enjoy living there. Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier. Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty–unaware that she is changing too. But Misselthwaite hides another secret, as Mary discovers one night. High in a dark room, away from the rest of the house, lies her young cousin, Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young. His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him. If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic will work wonders on him.

First line of the book: When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.”

Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
My Edition: It was an e-book from the e-library, but it was made from Transits norwegian edition from 2011, wich is translated by Torstein Bugge Høverstad. It’s 605 pages, where one page is the size of an Iphone 5.The book was originally published in 1911. The edition in the picture is taken by Marlene and not the edition I read.
Age: 6+
Genres: Classics, Childrens, Fiction

When I saw that this book was available in the e-library, my heart almost skipped a beat. I’d completely forgotten about this book, but in a split of a second I remembered the nights when my mom read it to me when I was little. I remembered that even when we finished reading and I was supposed to go to sleep, I could just lay there and imagine how beautiful and wonderful this garden was, and I wanted to be there so badly. After reading it again, about 16 years later or so, I still wish I could be there. This is also the book that inspired all the beautiful coloring books that have been published the past few years.

The Plot is simple, but still opens for everything that makes this book so magical. Little Mary has been a spoiled all her life until she comes to Misseltthwaite Manor, where there is no servants to help her get dressed and she actually has to play by herself and make herself entertained. She hates it, until she finds this beautiful garden that no one is allowed to be in. And then she finds out about Colin, her cousin who does nothing but lie in bed bacause he believes his too sick to do something else. There’s just so many things to explore for her, and the character development is so beautiful. I loved it as a child and I loved it when I read it recently as well.

I read a translated version of this, and it worked very well. In norwegian, this was simple to read although you do notice that the writing is from 1911. The people that live in the village close to Misseltthwaite Manor has a really complex dialect that was a bit heard for me to read even in norwegian, so it may be hard to read it in the original language. But all over, I’m very pleased with the writing.

The character development in this book is most definetly what makes this book so beautiful. So many people,  both the main character Mary and others, start out as characters you kind of despite. Then so many beautiful things happen. The characters in this book is the reason to why I’m going to recommend this to everyone asking for a children’s book and why I’m going to read it for my little sister during our vacation together. I can’t really say too much without spoiling a lot of things.

For starters, this is a book I remember loving from my childhood. I remember the beautiful descrictions of the garden and the nature and how much I wanted to be there, in a secret, beautiful garden, just looking at all the pretty flowers and playing in the woods nearby. I remember the castle she lives in and how much I wanted to be there when she started exploring the floors and the halls and the rooms. And I remember being so excited about all the thing she found and all the people she met. So it’s safe to say that this book made a deep impression on me when I was a child.

When I read it as a 21-year old, I discovered that it is still just as easy to just sit back and daydream about the beautiful, secret garden and the woods and the castle. It’s an easy read, and it kind of puts you to peace. It’s so easy to imagine the wonderful wind blowing in your hair as you run up the hills and then walk in to this amazing garden to spend hours just breathing the fresh air and smelling the flowers. I read this during my exams and it was the nicest break I could have had. Also, the characters here are really beautiful, and the character development is both astonishing and exciting to read about, and also gives a valid lesson of how children’s logic work, and what’s healthy for a child and what’s not. And how “bad children” often are bad because they’ve never learned anything else. It’s just a book that gives me hope and makes my heart warm inside.

Favorite quote: “Two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way – or always to have it.”



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