The Secret Garden - SRC #16

the secret gardenFor years I thought I had read Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. I really did. And then one day I read something on a blog about it and realized I didn't. Actually...I don't think it was a blog. I think I was reading this article on the Penguin Classics site. Anyway so now I have no idea what the book that I thought The Secret Garden is really was. I hate it when that happens (something about a young girl and two old women...possibly old maids???...who were her aunts or something?). Actually that's precisely why I started a book blog. I needed some way of keeping track of what I read and this is easier than a journal somehow.

So a few weeks ago I went to a bookstore and I picked up a copy of The Secret Garden (I was able to get one that matched my copy of The Little Princess...yay!). I started it a week or two ago and didn't get totally thrown into it but I was enjoying it. I think that if I had read it when I was a kid I would not have really enjoyed it. I'm not always big on dialect and I wouldn't have enjoyed following the Yorkshire in it (it didn't really bother me this time although I was worried at first that there would be a lot of it).

I think I had a problem with Colin. The kid was 10. He just wasn't written like he was 10. The same with Mary (she was supposed to be the same age right?). At times they both seemed as thought they were about 6 and at other times 14. I found that I wasn't really able to picture them. I know that they are supposed to be "unusual" children but I had trouble visualizing them. Maybe it's because I'm reading it for the first time as an adult. But I really don't think I would have enjoyed this one as a child.

That being true, I think there's a lot to be said for the whole getting the kids outside idea that is prevalent in the story. I played outside sooo much when I was a kid. I had a weird imagination and would pretend to do things in the yard. Like you know, be on an Africa safari or whatever. But I also used to just wander through hay fields and the trees. No one really thought much of it. I know kids today largely aren't given that type of freedom and it's kind of sad. As adults we don't stop to see things the way children do. Now it seems like sometimes children aren't getting the chance to see the things we got to see. When you're a kid there's that whole sense of discovery. And it's just always so much better when you are on your own with other kids. There are adults who will rediscover it right along with them...but they'll never exactly have the same amount of wonderment over the perfect spider's web as a child will.

I don't think that I'll be adding this to my "OMG I love it and must buy it for every child I know" list. But I did enjoy it.

(Note: My copies of The Secret Garden and The Little Princess are both Sterling Publishing Company editions. Nice hardcovers with satin ribbon bookmarks and I think they'd made good read aloud copies. They are relatively inexpensive considering they are hard-cover copies.).