Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

ISBN: 0393926354
Published: January 1st, 2006 (first published 1911)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Read from August 22nd to 26th, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Born in England and transplanted to New York toward the end of the Civil War, Burnett made her home in both countries, and today both countries claim her as their own. The Secret Garden, her best-known work, became an instant modern classic and world-wide bestseller upon its publication in 1911. The text of this Norton Critical Edition is based on the first edition and is accompanied by explanatory annotations. "Backgrounds and Contexts" and "Letters" illuminate important aspects of Burnett s life and work and include her own writings on gardens and their spiritual healing. Four illustrations point to Burnett s prominence in popular culture. "Criticism" includes fourteen contemporary reviews and nine recent critical views of The Secret Garden, including Jerry Phillips s sociopolitical interpretation and Phyllis Bixler s comparative analysis of the Broadway musical adaptation of the novel. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.


The best word I can think of to describe this book is "cute." I read this for my adolescent literature class, and when the entire class was asked what they liked and disliked about the book, quite a few mentioned that they were put off by the cuteness of the book. I didn't have that problem at all though. I quite enjoyed how cute it was, but maybe that's because I went into the book expecting that and I had kind of accepted it or something.

Prior to taking this class, I'd heard of The Secret Garden and had absolutely no desire to read it. I only had an extremely vague idea of what it was about, and it didn't sound interesting to me at all. I'm kind of glad that I had to read it for school because I really enjoyed it. There were parts where I got a little bored, but overall, I thought it was a really good book.

The Norton Critical Edition (which is the edition required for my class) also has essays and such on the novel, and we're currently reading some of those for the class. I really enjoy those as well because they present quite a few different ways of looking at the novel, and many of them are about things that I would have never thought of on my own.

I definitely don't think this book is for everyone, but I found it enjoyable. It's definitely a "cute" novel, so if you think you would enjoy that, then I recommend checking it out.

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