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The Secret Garden Complete Text

The Secret Garden Complete Text

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The Secret Garden Complete Text

4.5/5 (168 évaluations)
325 pages
5 heures
Jun 8, 2010


From Scribd: About the Book

The Secret Garden, a classic treasure in the history of children’s literature, is the story of Mary Lennox, orphaned at age 10 and sent from India to her uncle’s lonely mansion on the Yorkshire moors.

The mansion feels unwelcoming, with Mary’s uncle locking himself away in one of its hundred rooms and sounds of ghostly cries coming down its hallways. But there is a promise of an escape, a space to call her own: a secret garden on the property, locked with a missing key. As Mary discovers a way into the garden and learns of the mysteries that lie within, she also comes to realize the house is not as lonely as it may seem.

Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the 19th century author and playwright also known for A Little Princess, The Secret Garden is a timeless and enchanting story of friendship and perseverance.

Jun 8, 2010

À propos de l'auteur

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849–1924) was an English-American author and playwright. She is best known for her incredibly popular novels for children, including Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden.

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The Secret Garden Complete Text - Frances Hodgson Burnett



There’s No One Left

When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another. Her father had held a position under the English Government and had always been busy and ill himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people. She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary was born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah, who was made to understand that if she wished to please the Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as much as possible. So when she was a sickly, fretful, ugly little baby she was kept out of the way, and when she became a sickly, fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of the way also. She never remembered seeing familiarly anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other native servants, and as they always obeyed her and gave her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived. The young English governess who came to teach her to read and write disliked her so much that she gave up her place in three months, and when other governesses came to try to fill it they always went away in a shorter time than the first one. So if Mary had not chosen to really want to know how to read books she would never have learned her letters at all.

One frightfully hot morning, when she was about nine years old, she awakened feeling very cross, and she became crosser still when she saw that the servant who stood by her bedside was not her Ayah.

Why did you come? she said to the strange woman. I will not let you stay. Send my Ayah to me.

The woman looked frightened, but she only stammered that the Ayah could not come and when Mary threw herself into a passion and beat and kicked her, she looked only more frightened and repeated that it was not possible for the Ayah to come to Missie Sahib.

There was something mysterious in the air that morning. Nothing was done in its regular order and several of the native servants seemed missing, while those whom Mary saw slunk or hurried about with ashy and scared faces. But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not come. She was actually left alone as the morning went on, and at last she wandered out into the garden and began to play by herself under a tree near the veranda. She pretended that she was making a flower-bed, and she stuck big scarlet hibiscus blossoms into little heaps of earth, all the time growing more and more angry and muttering to herself the things she would say and the names she would call Saidie when she returned.

Pig! Pig! Daughter of Pigs! she said, because to call a native a pig is the worst insult of all.

She was grinding her teeth and saying this over and over again when she heard her mother come out on the veranda with some one. She was with a fair young man and they stood talking together in low strange voices. Mary knew the fair young man who looked like a boy. She had heard that he was a very young officer who had just come from England. The child stared at him, but she stared most at her mother. She always did this when she had a chance to see her, because the Mem Sahib—Mary used to call her that oftener than anything else—was such a tall, slim, pretty person and wore such lovely clothes. Her hair was like curly silk and she had a delicate little nose which seemed to be disdaining things, and she had large laughing eyes. All her clothes were thin and floating, and Mary said they were full of lace. They looked fuller of lace than ever this morning, but her eyes were not laughing at all. They were large and scared and lifted imploringly to the fair boy officer’s face.

Is it so very bad? Oh, is it? Mary heard her say.

Awfully, the young man answered in a trembling voice. Awfully, Mrs. Lennox. You ought to have gone to the hills two weeks ago.

The Mem Sahib wrung her hands.

Oh, I know I ought! she cried. I only stayed to go to that silly dinner party. What a fool I was!

At that very moment such a loud sound of wailing broke out from the servants’ quarters that she clutched the young man’s arm, and Mary stood shivering from head to foot. The wailing grew wilder and wilder.

What is it? What is it? Mrs. Lennox gasped.

Some one has died, answered the boy officer. You did not say it had broken out among your servants.

I did not know! the Mem Sahib cried. Come with me! Come with me! and she turned and ran into the house.

After that, appalling things happened, and the mysteriousness of the morning was explained to Mary. The cholera had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies. The Ayah had been taken ill in the night, and it was because she had just died that the servants had wailed in the huts. Before the next day three other servants were dead and others had run away in terror. There was panic on every side, and dying people in all the bungalows.

During the confusion and bewilderment of the second day Mary hid herself in the nursery and was forgotten by everyone. Nobody thought of her, nobody wanted her, and strange things happened of which she knew nothing. Mary alternately cried and slept through the hours. She only knew that people were ill and that she heard mysterious and frightening sounds. Once she crept into the dining-room and found it empty, though a partly finished meal was on the table and chairs and plates looked as if they had been hastily pushed back when the diners rose suddenly for some reason. The child ate some fruit and biscuits, and being thirsty she drank a glass of wine which stood nearly filled. It was sweet, and she did not know how strong it was. Very soon it made her intensely drowsy, and she went back to her nursery and shut herself in again, frightened by cries she heard in the huts and by the hurrying sound of feet. The wine made her so sleepy that she could scarcely keep her eyes open and she lay down on her bed and knew nothing more for a long time.

Many things happened during the hours in which she slept so heavily, but she was not disturbed by the wails and the sound of things being carried in and out of the bungalow.

When she awakened she lay and stared at the wall. The house was perfectly still. She had never known it to be so silent before. She heard neither voices nor footsteps, and wondered if everybody had got well of the cholera and all the trouble was over. She wondered also who would take care of her now her Ayah was dead. There would be a new Ayah, and perhaps she would know some new stories. Mary had been rather tired of the old ones. She did not cry because her nurse had died. She was not an affectionate child and had never cared much for any one. The noise and hurrying about and wailing over the cholera had frightened her, and she had been angry because no one seemed to remember that she was alive. Everyone was too panic-stricken to think of a little girl no one was fond of. When people had the cholera it seemed that they remembered nothing but themselves. But if everyone had got well again, surely some one would remember and come to look for her.

But no one came, and as she lay waiting the house seemed to grow more and more silent. She heard something rustling on the matting and when she looked down she saw a little snake gliding along and watching her with eyes like jewels. She was not frightened, because he was a harmless little thing who would not hurt her and he seemed in a hurry to get out of the room. He slipped under the door as she watched him.

How queer and quiet it is, she said. It sounds as if there were no one in the bungalow but me and the snake.

Almost the next minute she heard footsteps in the compound, and then on the veranda. They were men’s footsteps, and the men entered the bungalow and talked in low voices. No one went to meet or speak to them and they seemed to open doors and look into rooms.

What desolation! she heard one voice say. That pretty, pretty woman! I suppose the child, too. I heard there was a child, though no one ever saw her.

Mary was standing in the middle of the nursery when they opened the door a few minutes later. She looked an ugly, cross little thing and was frowning because she was beginning to be hungry and feel disgracefully neglected. The first man who came in was a large officer she had once seen talking to her father. He looked tired and troubled, but when he saw her he was so startled that he almost jumped back.

Barney! he cried out. There is a child here! A child alone! In a place like this! Mercy on us, who is she!

I am Mary Lennox, the little girl said, drawing herself up stiffly. She thought the man was very rude to call her father’s bungalow A place like this! I fell asleep when everyone had the cholera and I have only just wakened up. Why does nobody come?

It is the child no one ever saw! exclaimed the man, turning to his companions. She has actually been forgotten!

Why was I forgotten? Mary said, stamping her foot. Why does nobody come?

The young man whose name was Barney looked at her very sadly. Mary even thought she saw him wink his eyes as if to wink tears away.

Poor little kid! he said. There is nobody left to come.

It was in that strange and sudden way that Mary found out that she had neither father nor mother left; that they had died and been carried away in the night, and that the few native servants who had not died also had left the house as quickly as they could get out of it, none of them even remembering that there was a Missie Sahib. That was why the place was so quiet. It was true that there was no one in the bungalow but herself and the little rustling snake.


Mistress Mary Quite Contrary

Mary had liked to look at her mother from a distance and she had thought her very pretty, but as she knew very little of her she could scarcely have been expected to love her or to miss her very much when she was gone. She did not miss her at all, in fact, and as she was a self-absorbed child she gave her entire thought to herself, as she had always done. If she had been older she would no doubt have been very anxious at being left alone in the world, but she was very young, and as she had always been taken care of, she supposed she always would be. What she thought was that she would like to know if she was going to nice people, who would be polite to her and give her her own way as her Ayah and the other native servants had done.

She knew that she was not going to stay at the English clergyman’s house where she was taken at first. She did not want to stay. The English clergyman was poor and he had five children nearly all the same age and they wore shabby clothes and were always quarreling and snatching toys from each other. Mary hated their untidy bungalow and was so disagreeable to them that after the first day or two nobody would play with her. By the second day they had given her a nickname which made her furious.

It was Basil who thought of it first. Basil was a little boy with impudent blue eyes and a turned-up nose, and Mary hated him. She was playing by herself under a tree, just as she had been playing the day the cholera broke out. She was making heaps of earth and paths for a garden and Basil came and stood near to watch her. Presently he got rather interested and suddenly made a suggestion.

Why don’t you put a heap of stones there and pretend it is a rockery? he said. There in the middle, and he leaned over her to point.

Go away! cried Mary. I don’t want boys. Go away!

For a moment Basil looked angry, and then he began to tease. He was always teasing his sisters. He danced round and round her and made faces and sang and laughed.

"Mistress Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And marigolds all in a row."

He sang it until the other children heard and laughed, too; and the crosser Mary got, the more they sang Mistress Mary, quite contrary and after that as long as she stayed with them they called her Mistress Mary Quite Contrary when they spoke of her to each other, and often when they spoke to her.

You are going to be sent home, Basil said to her, at the end of the week. And we’re glad of it.

I am glad of it, too, answered Mary. Where is home?

She doesn’t know where home is! said Basil, with seven-year-old scorn. It’s England, of course. Our grandmama lives there and our sister Mabel was sent to her last year. You are not going to your grandmama. You have none. You are going to your uncle. His name is Mr. Archibald Craven.

I don’t know anything about him, snapped Mary.

I know you don’t, Basil answered. You don’t know anything. Girls never do. I heard father and mother talking about him. He lives in a great, big, desolate old house in the country and no one goes near him. He’s so cross he won’t let them, and they wouldn’t come if he would let them. He’s a hunchback, and he’s horrid.

I don’t believe you, said Mary; and she turned her back and stuck her fingers in her ears, because she would not listen any more.

But she thought over it a great deal afterward; and when Mrs. Crawford told her that night that she was going to sail away to England in a few days and go to her uncle, Mr. Archibald Craven, who lived at Misselthwaite Manor, she looked so stony and stubbornly uninterested that they did not know what to think about her. They tried to be kind to her, but she only turned her face away when Mrs. Crawford attempted to kiss her, and held herself stiffly when Mr. Crawford patted her shoulder.

She is such a plain child, Mrs. Crawford said pityingly, afterward. And her mother was such a pretty creature. She had a very pretty manner, too, and Mary has the most unattractive ways I ever saw in a child. The children call her ‘Mistress Mary Quite Contrary,’ and though it’s naughty of them, one can’t help understanding it.

Perhaps if her mother had carried her pretty face and her pretty manners oftener into the nursery Mary might have learned some pretty ways too. It is very sad, now the poor beautiful thing is gone, to remember that many people never even knew that she had a child at all.

I believe she scarcely ever looked at her, sighed Mrs. Crawford. When her Ayah was dead there was no one to give a thought to the little thing. Think of the servants running away and leaving her all alone in that deserted bungalow. Colonel McGrew said he nearly jumped out of his skin when he opened the door and found her standing by herself in the middle of the room.

Mary made the long voyage to England under the care of an officer’s wife, who was taking her children to leave them in a boarding-school. She was very much absorbed in her own little boy and girl, and was rather glad to hand the child over to the woman Mr. Archibald Craven sent to meet her, in London. The woman was his housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manor, and her name was Mrs. Medlock. She was a stout woman, with very red cheeks and sharp black eyes. She wore a very purple dress, a black silk mantle with jet fringe on it and a black bonnet with purple velvet flowers which stuck up and trembled when she moved her head. Mary did not like her at all, but as she very seldom liked people there was nothing remarkable in that; besides which it was very evident Mrs. Medlock did not think much of her.

My word! she’s a plain little piece of goods! she said. And we’d heard that her mother was a beauty. She hasn’t handed much of it down, has she, ma’am?

Perhaps she will improve as she grows older, the officer’s wife said good-naturedly. If she were not so sallow and had a nicer expression…her features are rather good. Children alter so much.

She’ll have to alter a good deal, answered Mrs. Medlock. And there’s nothing likely to improve children at Misselthwaite—if you ask me!

They thought Mary was not listening because she was standing a little apart from them at the window of the private hotel they had gone to. She was watching the passing buses and cabs and people, but she heard quite well and was made very curious about her uncle and the place he lived in. What sort of place was it, and what would he be like? What was a hunchback? She had never seen one. Perhaps there were none in India.

Since she had been living in other people’s houses and had had no Ayah, she had begun to feel lonely and to think queer thoughts which were new to her. She had begun to wonder why she had never seemed to belong to anyone even when her father and mother had been alive. Other children seemed to belong to their fathers and mothers, but she had never seemed to really be anyone’s little girl. She had had servants, and food and clothes, but no one had taken any notice of her. She did not know that this was because she was a disagreeable child; but then, of course, she did not know she was disagreeable. She often thought that other people were, but she did not know that she was so herself.

She thought Mrs. Medlock the most disagreeable person she had ever seen, with her common, highly colored face and her common fine bonnet. When the next day they set out on their journey to Yorkshire, she walked through the station to the railway carriage with her head up and trying to keep as far away from her as she could, because she did not want to seem to belong to her. It would have made her very angry to think people imagined she was her little girl.

But Mrs. Medlock was not in the least disturbed by her and her thoughts. She was the kind of woman who would stand no nonsense from young ones. At least, that is what she would have said if she had been asked. She had not wanted to go to London just when her sister Maria’s daughter was going to be married, but she had a comfortable, well paid place as housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manor and the only way in which she could keep it was to do at once what Mr. Archibald Craven told her to do. She never dared even to ask a question.

Captain Lennox and his wife died of the cholera, Mr. Craven had said in his short, cold way. Captain Lennox was my wife’s brother and I am their daughter’s guardian. The child is to be brought here. You must go to London and bring her yourself.

So she packed her small trunk and made the journey.

Mary sat in her corner of the railway carriage and looked plain and fretful. She had nothing to read or to look at, and she had folded her thin little black-gloved hands in her lap. Her black dress made her look yellower than ever, and her limp light hair straggled from under her black crêpe hat.

A more marred-looking young one I never saw in my life, Mrs. Medlock thought. (Marred is a Yorkshire word and means spoiled and pettish.) She had never seen a child who sat so still without doing anything; and at last she got tired of watching her and began to talk in a brisk, hard voice.

I suppose I may as well tell you something about where you are going to, she said. Do you know anything about your uncle?

No, said Mary.

Never heard your father and mother talk about him?

No, said Mary frowning. She frowned because she remembered that her father and mother had never talked to her about anything in particular. Certainly they had never told her things.

Humph, muttered Mrs. Medlock, staring at her queer, unresponsive little face. She did not say any more for a few moments and then she began again.

I suppose you might as well be told something—to prepare you. You are going to a queer place.

Mary said nothing at all, and Mrs. Medlock looked rather discomfited by her apparent indifference, but, after taking a breath, she went on.

Not but that it’s a grand big place in a gloomy way, and Mr. Craven’s proud of it in his way—and that’s gloomy enough, too. The house is six hundred years old and it’s on the edge of the moor, and there’s near a hundred rooms in it, though most of them’s shut up and locked. And there’s pictures and fine old furniture and things that’s been there for ages, and there’s a big park round it and gardens and trees with branches trailing to the ground—some of them.

She paused and took another breath. But there’s nothing else, she ended suddenly.

Mary had begun to listen in spite of herself. It all sounded so unlike India, and anything new rather attracted her. But she did not intend to look as if she were interested. That was one of her unhappy, disagreeable ways. So she sat still.

Well, said Mrs. Medlock. What do you think of it?

Nothing, she answered. I know nothing about such places.

That made Mrs. Medlock laugh a short sort of laugh.

Eh! she said, but you are like an old woman. Don’t you care?

It doesn’t matter, said Mary, whether I care or not.

You are right enough there, said Mrs. Medlock. "It doesn’t. What you’re to be kept at Misselthwaite Manor for I don’t know, unless because it’s the easiest way. He’s not going to trouble himself about you, that’s sure and certain. He never troubles himself about no one."

She stopped herself as if she had just remembered something in time.

He’s got a crooked back, she said. "That set him wrong. He was a sour young man and got no good of all his

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  • (4/5)
    Having just re-read "Black Beauty" and being disappointed, i was nervous about revisiting this book but, thankfully, my fears were unfounded. "The Secret Garden" was as delightful as the first time I read it many, many years ago.
  • (4/5)
    The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary, a young girl of privilege growing up in India who, after her parents' death of cholera, is swept away to live in her estranged uncle's Yorkshire manor house in England. Spoiled and disagreeable, with no history of any true friendships, she must adapt to a new environment and learn to entertain herself.I'm one of probably a very few who have not previously read or seen the movie adaptation of The Secret Garden. I've had a copy of the book on my shelf for quite a while, but it wasn't until just recently that I decided to delve into an audio copy available on Hoopla, which I devoured pretty quickly while doing various work & household activities. This book is definitely a product of its era (published in 1911), but that's part of its charm. The most enjoyable aspect for me was reading about the true pleasure of the discovery of a garden and the effects that discovery can have on a child's imagination and outlook on life. Sometimes it's the simple things which can bring us such pleasure, and it's nice to be able to look at that through a child's eye.
  • (5/5)
    This read was, of course, a re-read. I wore out the copy I had as a child, with its lovely illustrations by Tasha Tudor. What's interesting is what a different, but still marvelous, experience it is, reading it again almost 4 decades later. I didn't remember the beginning bit taking place in India. I could've sworn Mary visited, and brought gifts to, Martha's family's cottage. I didn't remember the ending being so abrupt.

    Oddly enough, my 'favorite' bit was learning about how to tell if trees and vines are 'wick' or dead. And that part was just as I remembered it.

    I read it now with a bit of an eye towards issues. For example, there are some racist comments - but they're made in innocent ignorance and/or by people who are not nice. Another example is that great store is set by beauty, esp. Mary's initial lack of it - but it is made plain that beauty is a sign of physical and 'spiritual' health. The third example of an issue is spiritual health and Christianity - and I love Susan's speech near the end in which she refers to the Joy-Maker" who is known by many names the world over.

    This edition does have a scholarly introduction. I have not read it nor do I plan to."
  • (4/5)
    I felt a little bit difficult for me.But I was able to enjoy this book.The noble figure of Mary was struck me.The scene was also very impressed to see the garden in their eyes colin.Unfortunately I can not express well, I think this book has very warm atmosphere.
  • (5/5)
    Over all I think "The Secret Garden" is a great book! Although it was a little long. It's a great book if you like: gardening, friendship and interesting twists to the story. I would recommend this book!
  • (4/5)
    As a young man, many times I felt very much alone, and Burnett's garden came to symbolize a way out of my isolation. In my own life reading became the garden that allowed me to escape and recreate myself - so for me this book resonates on many levels.
  • (4/5)
    I liked the way Mary changed her additude, on the first time she was mean and crooked all the time but her parents died on a disease in her house so she had to move to an place in Europ in a moor.She found a garden that has been lock up by the house owner because his wife died by falling down a tree. She made friend and grow flowers and made the garden beautiful
  • (4/5)
    I come to this book uninfluenced by film adaptations of the story, so my comments here apply only to the actual novel.

    Basically a middle-grades book espousing the idea of positive thinking to cure one's ailments. It was a five star book up till the halfway mark and the carefully constructed character of Mary was unceremoniously pushed to the side by the Cravens, and if this were a book for adults I would be pretty harsh about marking it down. Yet, I feel that somewhat different standards ought to be applied to it given its era. That's why it also gets a pass when it comes to the English class system, colonialism, and a mysterious Gothic mansion that ends up being no kind of mystery at all.

    As for the plot, I never did quite figure out whether the mother really died in childbirth, as the boy seemed to believe, or whether the accident with a rose tree was actually the case. And the slight hint of intrigue on the part of Dr. Craven's scheme to inherit the mansion was never really paid off.

    I listened to the Librivox audiobook version, which had its special charm. This listener's delight in hearing the Yorkshire dialect started to wear thin around the time the story lost its way, but the readers put on a pretty good show nonetheless.
  • (4/5)
    The story of the turnaround of a girl from a most irritating child to one who leads to the turnaround of another kid like her, the instrumental part being played by a Dickon, one of those boys no one can dislike, be it humans, animals, birds or even plants! The secret garden ofcourse provides for as the ideal venue for all these adventures of the three kids.
  • (4/5)
    This book would be good for talking about the late 1800s early 1900s time period. I think students would like this book because of how the main character finds ways in entertain herself.
  • (5/5)
    The Secret Garden is a classic book which every now and then I still pick up to read, just because it is a sweet story with morals that aren't terribly overbearing. It is one that I have and will continue to pass along to others.
  • (5/5)
    I finally read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I want to start with the film review for this one because it's truly in my top 5 favorite films of all time. The movie came out in 1993 and is the reason why I have wanted to ramble across the Yorkshire moors (which I finally did this summer!). The script includes lines which are directly lifted from the novel and is almost entirely faithful to the storyline. It is absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend it. Now for the book! It features a little girl named Mary Lennox who is orphaned and sent to live with an uncle who she has never met named Archibald Craven. Mary's childhood up until this point has been rather lonesome, grim, and without affection. As a result, she is a morose and not at all agreeable child. The house is large, foreboding, and empty apart from the servants as Mr. Craven frequently travels. They're situated out on the Yorkshire moors which to the little girl appears barren and desolate. At first, you think that Mary's life has not improved one iota...and then she starts exploring the gardens. She learns that there is a garden that is hidden and which no one has been inside for 10 years since Mrs. Craven died. Through seemingly magical circumstances, she locates the key and finds her way inside only to discover that the garden is not entirely dead. She enlists the help of a boy that lives on the moors named Dickon who tames animals and over time helps to tame her as well. They decide they are going to bring the garden back to life. This isn't the only mystery of the novel either...and I'm not going to tell you anymore because you need to read it and then watch the film. GO, GO, GO!
  • (5/5)
    The Secret Garden is a book I have enjoyed again and again since childhood because of its themes and exciting plot. The story follows a young girl, Mary Lennox, and her journey from India after the death of her parents to her Uncle Archibald Craven’s estate in Yorkshire. Mary is an unhappy and unwell girl who finds solstice in search of a “secret garden” that once belonged to her uncle’s wife, Mistress Craven. She befriends the servants, gardeners and Dickon who assist her in nurturing the garden that has gone untouched but once a year since Mistress Craven’s passing. Mary also becomes interested in Master Craven’s son, Colin, whose cries she hears one night and is forbidden to seek out their source by the head servant, Mrs. Medlock. Mary finds the boy anyway and quickly realizes that his sadness stems from the belief that he will become a hunchback like his father and he will die young. Mary brings him to the garden with Dickon where Colin stands on his own for the first time. The author leads the reader to believe that the secret garden is responsible for Colin’s miraculous recovery, as well as Mary’s revival from her parents’ death. Themes include “mind over matter” and health having a direct relationship with outlook, as well as the importance of faith and human relationships.
  • (4/5)
    Mini Book Review: I was disappointed when I first started the book as I heard so many fabulous things about this classic. I almost gave up after about 30 pages as it was hard to read about a child who was just utterly unlikeable (and yes I can see how she bacame that way) But than something happened about 45 pages in I started falling in love with her and wanted to know more. Such a charming, beautiful story and I now know why so many people list this as one of their favorite stories. Since I have to get 3 reviews done by New Years Eve (Tomorrow) this is going to be a quickie review. Fabulous character development and wonderful use of setting. You felt like you knew these characters and let me tell you the whole time I was reading, I also imagined that I was on the moors with the children. As a child this would be a truly marvelous read. As an adult my only negative comments would be that some might stop reading because at the beginning Mary is so unlikeable. Also the ending is a tad saccharine and predictable - but I really didn't mind that as I am a big softie. To put it simply it is a lovely sweet innocent tale of the importance of play, good fresh air and the power of imagination.4.5 Dewey'sI purchased this at the Indigo at the Eaton Centre for my BBC 100 Top Books Challenge (Yeah I totally failed I only finished 2 of the 5 I was going to review - but hey I moved across the country and became at stay at home mom)
  • (4/5)
    10-year-old Mary was being raised as an emotionally neglected, but very spoiled, brat in colonial India when she is suddenly orphaned by a cholera epidemic. She is sent to the house of a rich uncle in England, where she is ignored. Despite these tragic events, Mary somehow manages to make friends, and discover the magic of nature, for the first time in her life. This was an adorable book, though greatly contrasted from [A Little Princess], in which the main character was sweet and lovable all the way through. I hadn’t thought I’d seen the movie when I read this book, but clearly I have since I knew the story too well. I will have to re-watch the movie now.
  • (3/5)
    Narrated by Finola Hughes. Hughes' pleasant voice was easy on the ears and atmospheric of the story with her British and Yorkshire accents for the various characters. She reads descriptive narrative in a confiding manner, as if being gently gossipy. A gentle listening experience but the outdated attitudes about "blacks and respectable white people" come off as terribly jarring today.
  • (5/5)
    Two very spoiled and ill-mannered children are brought out of isolation by the healing power of a garden. A timeless and well told tale.
  • (3/5)
    I read this for a groupread, and many in my group agreed that this book should really only be read by 3rd-4th graders, who would really love this book. Reading it as adults, the book just seems slow and predictable. It picks up about halfway through when Mary meets Colin-I really began to enjoy the book then-but I can never call this a favorite. I wish I had read it as a child so it could have held more meaning for me.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book at the beginning, the talk about magic was a little repetitive to me at times. I would recommend this book however as a good read.
  • (1/5)

    Four out of ten. eBook.

    Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks.

  • (4/5)
    I was identifying with this book while I read it, because I was feeling rather contrary myself, and it fit my mood and made me consider things from different perspectives. It was a good read, and one I'd recommend mostly because it's a good concept, but not one I especially got into. It was nice to watch the main characters, well, blossom, to use an apt metaphore, but I didn't identify with them a whole lot. I guess the concept of having a secret garden is cool, but it just wasn't what I would have done (well, I would have found my way in the garden, but I'd have done a lot more with the house, and I would have played in the garden rather than weeded). Anyway, good enough story, just not my thing.
  • (5/5)
    This was the first chapter book I ever read. Perhaps everyone remembers their first "real" book, I don't know, but it seems interesting to me that I remember this one. Smerguls reviewed this book and totally panned it. I find that interesting, too. But when reading children's literature, one needs to put themselves in the mind of a child!This book prepared me (which is no doubt why I remembered it) for my own mother's death. It also planted philosophical thoughts into my head."One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts--just mere thought--are as powerful as electric batteries--as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into our mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live" (pg 436 out of 485).Positive psychology!At any rate, it is a book I read to my son, and would read to my grandchildren were I to have any!
  • (4/5)
    I almost didn't write a review of this, but then I figured.... eh, just because I'm not sure I'll take the trick, doesn't mean I can't put my card on the table. Anyway, my brother was in a stage piece of this, (as Mr. Craven) when I was in middle school, I think, {not quite ten years ago, come to think of it-- back when I was a gosling!}, and so I watched every performance they gave-- three, I think-- and I obsessed over the soundtrack for awhile.... I found it all to be wonderfully depressing, which was a sort of grey blessing, since I was absolutely depressed myself at the time.... Anyway, I know that that sort of reflection might be seen as a bit amateurish or something, but theatre can be illuminating.... I saw a stage piece of a Sherlock Holmes a few weeks ago, which helped me realize how much I detest that stupid....Anyway. It can be a bit more grey than green.... And there's an obvious thrust at 'magic', I guess, but it just manages to shy away from total cynicism and doesn't quite.... sometimes it just doesn't.... sometimes you just can't quite feel the magic in the cards, you know.... sometimes children have flowers in their cups, and other times.... they're just a bunch of little.... Six and one, you know.... It might seem a little odd to compare this to 'Pride & Prejudice', (and I care not to know precisely what some of the 1911 crowd thought of dearest Jane), but that is easily explained-- I obsess about P&P, and compare all manner of phenomenon to it. And.... the thing is.... 'tisn't as good, is it.... I mean, I read that once Jane joked that she ought to have written a chapter about Napoleon, you see what I mean, some things are just better avoided.... And while it's certainly easy enough to see the sort of.... craven, application of the ethic of avoidance-- lock up the garden! Never go back in!-- still.... still.... I mean, this book itself isn't quite needing of avoidance, it's like *that*.... but almost, almost, at times..... I mean, to be rather cruel about it-- Kitty and Lydia die in a flood, Mary hates everyone, and Lizzie goes off and jumps in the mud with the goats and kids from the.... from the lanes, almost! I mean, I hate to be brusque about it-- since it's almost become my cardinal sin!-- but you can do that with anything, I mean, with girls.... I mean, I've sorta come to think that there are only five girls in the world, although unfortunately there are just too many times when it's like, Where's Jane? What did you *do* with her? (I mean, and.... I *hesitate* to call Mrs. Bennet a 'girl'; she's the Queen of Spades!) So, there's that. I mean, you can see, obviously, how it's not quite as bad, well, not nearly as bad, as it obviously could have been, so there's that.... I mean, thank merciful Juno that there are no bloody suffragette riots, and no Irish thugs {and my family comes from, Suffolk, by and by, just like all of the Keatings} to crack Sybil's head against the pavement-- that, I suppose, would be one of the cardinal benefits of living in what might be loosely denominated as 'the middle of nowhere', a sort of English Appalachia, where people still (1911) are to be heard uttering variations of "thou", such as "tha'" and so on-- but I mean.... "You come along back to your own nursery or I'll box your ears." I mean, I haven't read all of the novels, but I'd imitate my Irish ancestors and 'bet the dole', so to speak, that *nothing* like that, ever, ever, *ever*.... I mean, I don't think you could get Lady Austen to put a sentence like that in print, if you offered to pay her all the muslin in India.... Not if offered to celebrate *her* birthday, the way that we celebrate that of *Dickens*.... and I suppose, that that's why we *don't*. "I am just a poor boy and my story's seldom told." Shut, up! Wow, I really wasn't going to do that. You follow it though, don't you?.... Do you knit, no, Do you sew, no, Do you read, Yes, why..... "Vanity and pride are different things...." You know, *sometimes*, they are pretty much the same.... I mean, I honestly didn't want to snap my fingers like this.... It's feelings about magic aren't as obnoxiously and nauseatingly and stupidly insincere as something like C.S. Lewis ("Mere Christianity"-- yes, *mere*, christianity, indeed!), or Lewis Carroll ("Euclid and his Modern Rivals"-- damn Anglophones! *Teach them in Greek!*) might write.... or something that *Wickham* might say.... And, yes, I do hiss, I hiss at the very name, at very *shadow* of that name.... I am a little mean sometimes, though.... the girl is the one who stands out, hahaha..... Although not here.... I mean, at least it's England, not Narnia.... or Kandahar.... .... Just because you dine at Pemberley, doesn't mean that you're stupid.... Just because you're not in one of those real Clint Eastwood movies, you know, looking the gritty truth of the world in eye, just like.... (Look the cold truth in the eye! Stare into the abyss!) I mean, like, it's not that hard to figure out what the orphans of the British Army are like, is it? It's not as though you've got to read "The River War", do you.... *or even this book*! I mean, if Mr. Bennet, *acting as though he wouldn't* go call on Bingely is bad, very bad, even, then how bad is it, if he *never* does, because.... he's not, *anywhere*? Very Bad Indeed, I should say.... Say, what would happen, were I to drink from that poisoned well? ~Well, that would be, Very Bad Indeed. ~Ah. I see. What more? What more is there? I mean, I do hope that my manner hasn't gone ill with anyone, and I am sure that just because I have alot to say-- more than I really meant to-- doesn't mean that I've balanced every word just so, the way that I might like.... But, anyway, it could surely have been worse-- and that is something, that is surely something....Although Mary could have played cribbage with Martha, and I'm sure they both could have gotten something out of that.... not that I dislike Martha, not at all.(It's just that she's not a girl; she's a servant. Did you ever read "And Then There Were None"? Another one of these lovely post-Victorian pieces-- see, I told you it could be *worse*! Anyway, "the women" always meant the two women, not the two women and the servant's wife.... Such bitter business, though-- better not to think on it....) Anyway. It need not really be marked for avoidance, though it does have a little grey in it. There's just better and worse, that's all. (8/10)
  • (5/5)
    What a fantastic novel! The reason they don’t do children’s books like this anymore is because it’s frankly too good for kids. Cleverer than the average adults’ book.The picture drawn of Mary is superb. There’s a bit in chapter 3 where she says to Martha “...blacks! They are not people – they’re servants who must salaam to you”. In other words, Mary is so twisted that she can no longer even recognise other members of her own species. There’s also the image of her putting flowers into sterile sand. A wonderful metaphor for herself. Originally a beautiful thing, plucked, and set rootless in conditions that will only wither her. This of course ties in to the motif (is that the word? Are children’s books allowed to have motifs?) of the garden later in the novel.I’ve been reading a bit about Burnett herself and apparently she was a theosophist. Now I don’t want to get into my opinion on her spiritualist beliefs, but at the risk of you thinking me a complete lune, I have to say that I don’t believe in germ theory. Consider this: for hundreds of centuries religious people have been saying that illness is caused by evil spirits. “You can’t see them, but don’t worry, we have special eyes and we know how to combat them.” Then along come scientists, saying that illness is caused by germs. “You can see them, but don’t worry, we have special eyes and we know how to combat them.”So I have a certain sympathy for her beliefs. Anyway, as the novel progresses and Burnett’s confidence grows this affirmative thought theme grows in strength. If you know her beliefs then you can see them being held by the characters themselves. Mrs Medlock and the Doctor are obviously believers as one of their conversations makes clear.Burnett never rams it down your throat though. It’s Magic!
  • (2/5)
    I never read The Secret Garden as a child, though I do remember seeing two different film versions of it. I'm not sure if I would have liked this as a kid - I want to say no because even then I was too cynical to put up with this kind of treacly crap, but I did love Little Women and Anne of Green Gables and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn so who knows. But wow, at the tender age of 37, this one doesn't do much for me. It's kind of charming in the beginning but then gets very preachy. I had been enjoying Mary's development from a bratty sour puss into an energetic little girl but then the book becomes all about Colin who is really annoying. There is a bunch of weird, quasi-Christian Science stuff going on, and I can't understand why the awesome Sowerby family would be at all interested in these obnoxious rich people. And I can't understand why I thought this was going to get three stars from me. Definitely more like two. And the ending was weird. So. Very. Abrupt.
  • (4/5)
    I love this book! I think the author would have had a slightly stronger message if she hadn't gone into exposition on the power of focusing on the positive; the narrative carried that message very strongly all by itself. I cried at the end. I will be re-reading this one; it's like therapy in book form.
  • (5/5)
    My love of the Gothic genre started here, in sixth grade when I found this book in the school library. It made me love books.I still remember that wistful feeling after I'd read the last page and closed the book...
  • (5/5)
    Simply looking at the cover of this book instantly transports me back to my childhood, a time in which I was so carefree and imagined myself in the book, tending to a garden full of secrets. Even as a small child, I related so much to this book and as an adult, it still holds a special place in my heart. Although I enjoy the movie as well, the book is simply wonderful.
  • (3/5)
    This is another classic I wanted to read because I liked the movie. And another one I put into my Classic TBR pile.

    Although I didn't enjoy it as much as the other classics I've read, it was still a cute little story. And I loved seeing her grow into a sweet, respectful little lady from that not so nice child she was all because she had something and someone to look forward to each and everyday.

    This story can be a lesson to many that if you give your children something to look forward to everyday that they enjoy doing, how will their behavior change for the better? If the children are in a more positive environment and have people around them that love them..How much better will their lives be? The change may take time but its possible for it to happen...That's what I get out of it anyway..

    And even though the adults didn't really want much to do with her or the other children in the beginning, she eventually got their views to change about her and the little boy she became friends with..

    I love the messaged more than anything in this story...That's part of the reason it didn't get less than a 3..And plus, how could I give a classic less than a 3?!?! :-)
  • (5/5)
    Another of my favorite books and movies! I think I enjoy this one better than A Little Princess. Brings back alot of great memories for me!