Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Secret Garden will always have a special place in my heart because I watched the 1993 film plenty of times when I was growing up. I loved the idea of a secret place you could go to that nobody knew about, the blooming flowers and tame animals. But I hated Mary Lennox.

And I mean hated. She's a spoilt, vicious, unruly brat who is finally taught a good lesson. She ends up being bearable. In the book, she's even worse. However she's more likable at the end.

So, as you now know, I was brought up with the film, which actually has slightly more to it than the book. They made the family situation more complex and certain characters have more of a part to play. It makes a bit more sense.
I know those of you who read the book first and loved it as children are probably thinking that I must not have read the same book and watched the same film, but I assure you, I have.

I think the main reason I wasn't so enthused is because I'm not a child. I think if i had read this as a child then i would have laughed along with them, found a sense of wonder in the changes that the garden and the moor bring and most of all, not been annoyed at the spelling when people are talking in a Yorkshire accent. I can quite easily imagine a Yorkshire accent, thank you. But If I were still a child, I might have even tried to do one.(Although I can see why it was used).

In it's own right, it's a nice little story about friendship, changes and gardens. Which is all well and good, as long as you haven't read anything you deem to be amazing, because then in comparison this is a really dull book. I had to force myself to keep reading it, and it's not even very long. I was happy when my kindle told me i had less than half and hour to go.

The language is extremely dated, and the overuse of the word 'queer' really started to annoy me. However the garden and nature imagery in general was lovely, and the whole premise of the story is good. I also did like a bit nearing the end that was talking about Archibald Craven. That was very nicely done.

Overall, I'm sure children would still enjoy it, but find it a little difficult, but i felt there was something distinctly lacking from it. This is may be partially due to the fact that the film had a few plot points done differently and I preferred them (and the presence of Maggie Smith).

I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

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