Hello again, sorry for the disappearance, once again life happens and I have been focusing more on building up/writing in my Grimoire. However, I have been trying to keep up on my reading as well and finished “The Secret Garden” this week (finally), so I thought I would make a return with a book review.
The story begins with a young, orphaned girl named Mary Lennox who is sent to live with her wealthy uncle in Yorkshire, England after the death of her parents from a cholera outbreak in their home in India. She’s a sour child and spoiled beyond belief, but eventually decides (after some persuasion) to explore her new home and soon discovers a secret garden. She also discovers more secrets around the manor and slowly becomes a much happier, healthier child and is even a positive influence to another peer, her cousin, Colin. She shares the wonder and the “magic” of the garden with trusted friends and it has a ripple effect over everyone at the manor. I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t read it, so I will leave the description at this point.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story. I’m almost disappointed that I didn’t read this earlier in life, but I still got a lot out of it now. (There is a bit of India-bashing, so just a head’s up there). The “magic” theme was wonderfully done and isn’t Hollywood magic, but more earthly, everyday “magic” you can find in nature. The descriptions of plants coming back to life as Spring arrives, the mist over the moors, the sunshine, the buds sprouting from the ground, the animals coming out, and birds building nests; it was the true magic and wonder one can find every year with the changing of the seasons (yes, it’s not “magic” but the look and feel is quite wondrous at times). And given that I read it during Fall, it really made the seasonal change I was seeing around me pop out. The fading of the leaves from green to orange. The grass becoming blanketed by the same orange, yellow, red, and brown leaves. The chill in the air. It was/is magical.
The theme of secrets really flows strongly through the book. Whether it’s a secret garden, a secret room holding a secret person, a secret “miracle”, etc. And what I noticed was the effects secrets can have, both negative and positive. Keeping things secret due to shame only makes it worse and sours more than the secret itself…it can also influence gossip. More harmless secrets can be fun when kept to oneself, but are made more so when shared with people you trust/friends and can actually be like a gift which strengthens bonds. Not all secrets are bad, but in the end, no secret should be kept that way for long.
There was also quite a lot about positivity and how one can attempt to change how they see the world. A glass half full vs glass half empty thing. I don’t think it necessarily promotes blind optimism, but instead trying not to let yourself be bogged down with negative thoughts all of the time. It’s not just a physical garden they tend to, but the gardens in their minds (I know that sounds hippy and weird, but Mr. Rogers used that term once, so it stands as forever cool, IMO). Of course, we know just thinking positively can’t solve all of our problems and is definitely not a cure-all, but it can have an impact. “Where you plant a rose, a thistle cannot grow.”
Finally, there was a great line in this book about children that I thought was very smart. While I have no intention to ever have them myself, I think it’s great advice for anyone who would so desire some. It goes like this, “Two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way or to always have it.” It speaks for itself.
So there you have it. 4 out of 5 stars from me, would definitely recommend for just about all ages.
Hope everyone had a blessed Samhain. Happy reading!