The Secret Garden Was Not What I Thought

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

By: Frances Hodgson Burnett

I always thought this book was a portal world fantasy. Girl finds secret door goes through into magic other-world garden with fairies.

Boy was I wrong about that!

It’s more like poorly parented and then orphaned (and racist) brat Mary moves to England with Uncle finds an old run down garden and becomes gardener. Becomes much more bearable. Then plays nursemaid and her story gets completely subsumed by her male cousin.

Who pretty much follows the same trajectory of brat to bearable.

I actually read the Minalima edition of this book which was a very beautiful gift I received for Christmas and I listened to the Karen Gillan narrated audiobook on Apple- mainly because it was Karen Gillan. I’ve never read and listened to an audio book at the same time and it was spot on between the two so it’s a good place to do that.

Much as I love Gillan I don’t think I would have finished the audiobook otherwise.

It was just so slow.

And yeah once the kids become more bearable there were some enjoyable bits and I did like the relationship between the three kids and them helping and learning from each other. I just wasn’t big on The Secret Garden overall.

That being said the Minalima editions make great gifts. And the audiobook was free on Apple Books. My first time reading from that service. So if you want to give it a try you could check it out that way. I’m glad I read it though I can’t see myself reading it again or being particularly quick to pick up any of the authors other books.

3 thoughts on “The Secret Garden Was Not What I Thought

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  1. What world have you been living in? I had to laugh. Portal world? 😂😂 No wonder you were disappointed!

    It’s difficult to reconcile my love for the character, especially because I empathise with her childhood, with her racism, and there’s no brushing it away with “a product of its times.” It is what it is. I liked the 93 (I believe it’s 93) film edition where the ending tracks back to Mary, and I found it to be a more realistic one as well.

    1. I swear the only thing I ever remember seeing about the movie or book was a little girl surrounded by fairy like lights… and then my imagination went away from me I suppose 🙂

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