‘I’ve stolen a garden,’ she said very fast. ‘It isn’t mine. It isn’t anybody’s. Nobody wants it, nobody cares for it, nobody ever goes into it.’ –The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a novel about a bratty child named Mary Lennox who is forced to live with her Uncle at Misselthwaite Mannor after her parents die of cholera in India. Her Uncle is never home and there are no other children to play with; only a grumpy gardener, robin, and housemaid pay her any attention. She hears rumors of a mysterious garden that has been closed off for ten years and finds herself intrigued. Although, who wouldn’t be interested in a secret garden?
One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live for ever and ever and ever –The Secret Garden
While The Secret Garden is by no means a fantasy novel, there is something fantastical about this book. There is something enchanting about a garden that no one knows how to get into, that has just continued to grow on its own. Frances Hodgson Burnett has such a way with words, that I felt as if I was reading something unreal instead of flowers blooming and ivy climbing. This novel really puts things into a different perspective for the reader. We are seeing a garden through the eyes of a child who has never seen such things before in her life.
‘Of course, there must be lots of Magic in the world,’ he said wisely one day, ‘but people don’t know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen.’ –The Secret Garden
When I was younger I would press leaves, eat honeysuckle, and make flower crowns. I haven’t done any of those things in years! Reading The Secret Garden, I feel like part of me has disconnected with the outside world, which saddens me. I will admit, walking outside in this Texas heat makes me immediately retreat to the air conditioned haven of my apartment.. but I do want to make more of an attempt to, as cliche as this sounds, reconnect with nature. Now, I’m not going to rush out the front door and attempt to mountain bike or hike the Pacific Crest Trail, but maybe planting a few flowers for my patio would be a nice place to start.