Art and the philosophy of life

The Secret Garden…

Garden, Secret Garden, Stone, Nature

I just finished listening to the audio book, The Secret Garden, by Francis Hodgson Burnet.  It  was my favorite book when I was a child and it was important to me for a lot of reasons.

I loved the garden and the robin, the earthy boy who could talk to plants and animals.  I was so happy that the main character was a girl who didn’t do as she was told, but did as she pleased.  I knew we could have been friends.

But here’s the thing.  Even though I haven’t read the book since I was that very small child, I still think about the story.  I have watched the film, staring Kate Maberly, as Mary and Andrew Knott, as Dickon, many times.   Maggie Smith is in it and she’s always amazing.  The film is wonderful and the child actors are incredible.

Listening to the book, I was able to see  the differences between it, the film and my memory.  The book, while racist and elitist (people would say that’s just what was happening in 1911, when it was written), is much more gentle than the film.  And I only remembered all the parts that were relevant to me as a child.  In the movie, Maggie Smith is hard core, compared to her character in the book.  The things I remembered were more like the book with bits of the film embedded in there somewhere.

The Secret Garden is an important book.  It’s about rich and poor, wanted and unwanted, children navigating through the world of adults. and finding their own way.  The children are free to explore their world, as long as they don’t bother anyone and behave.  But by being outside, they are able to get in touch with, and recognize, their oneness with animals, birds and all of nature.

Mainly, it’s about polite, well mannered children following their hearts and overcoming their personal and physical problems, with the help of nature, and each other.  It’s about abuse, healing, joy, freedom, breaking rules, standing up for yourself and being happy.  It’s also about the trickle down theory when it comes to the social hierarchy of masters and servants.  Obedience at all costs, especially in the film.

I love the book and part of me will always live in that garden.  It’s the best place to be, after all.  Just ask the robin, he’ll be happy to tell you.

Comments on: "The Secret Garden…" (22)

  1. A favorite book and journey 😊 📚

  2. i love this book, and haven’t read it for years. i think it’s long overdue

  3. I just watched the Beautiful Fantastic on Amazon Prime, and I was thinking that it had some of the qualities of the Secret Garden, both book and movie. I also loved the book when I was a kid, but I liked the Little Princess even more. After all, she finds her dad in the end.

  4. I have not read the book, but I remember the movie. Mostly, I adore Maggie Smith!
    I adore Miss Jean Brodie, yes she is starchy and hard core. She plays that type very well.
    Have you ever seen “A Private Function”? It’s very black humour. Michael Palin helps make the movie !

    • I have not seen A Private Function. I do love Maggie Smith, no matter what role she’s playing. 🙂 If you do read the book, and I recommend it highly, I bet you will end up making a dress for Mary and that would be amazing. 🙂

  5. One of my all time favorite books! I saw a movie version many years ago BUT I haven’t seen the movie with Maggie Smith!!! I’ll have to look for that. Once i get my books out of storage this is one i will give a re-read to!

    • The movie with Maggie Smith is wonderful. she’s such a meanie, hahaha,she can do that so well. It’s beautiful. I’m glad I listened to it. The book, as I said, is more more gentle than the film. I hope you get your stuff SOON.

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