This book is a well-loved classic, written in 1909. I read it while in elementary school and when I saw there was a one-day free promotion in progress, I decided to grab the eBook copy. Re-reading The Secret Garden as an adult certainly gave me a better perspective on the book’s message.
Mary Lennox is a sour, angry ten-year-old child who lives in India and spends her days alone and left to her own devices. Mary is a pale, thin and plain child who is so disagreeable that the family’s house servants have little to do with her. Even her socialite mother has little time for Mary, as she leaves her in the care of a string of Ayahs (nannies). When she’s orphaned after a cholera outbreak, Mary is sent to Yorkshire, England to live in a sprawling mansion with an uncle she’s never met. Once there, she makes friends with a friendly housemaid, Martha, her brother, Dickon, and then accidentally stumbles on her cousin – a purported invalid and equally disagreeable ten-year-old boy named Colin. The unlikely group of friends embark on a magical and life-changing journey.
There are several lovely, positive and powerful messages contained in The Secret Garden. The most important message being that we all have the ability to choose to be either happy and upbeat or angry and sad. As the children cultivate and revive the secret garden, they are also cultivating and reviving a brand new and happier feeling of well being within themselves. As they begin working together toward their mutual goal of developing the garden, they realize how important companionship is for their health and growth.
There are definite “religious”, spiritual and magical undertones going on in this book. It’s been reported that the author’s interest in metaphysics and the New Thought movement were likely the reason for this. Whatever the motivation, I thoroughly enjoyed the magical elements in The Secret Garden. I would highly recommend The Secret Garden for children and adults!
5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton