I am one of those people who read a lot of books during childhood and saw a lot of movies but then don’t remember if a book was something I actually read or not. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of those books and when I decided to add it to my Fill In The Gaps Project list, I could not remember which version of the story I consumed.
Having definitely seen the movie (we had the VHS where there’s a fire and some elephants and that’s how Mary’s parents die) and having read a few modern versions of The Secret Garden, I pretty much knew what the plot was going into the audiobook.
If you happen to live under a rock here is a bare bones summary – Mary is the main character who spends her early childhood in India where her mom ignores her and her servants spoil her. Mary’s parents die then she goes to live in Yorkshire, England with her mysterious Uncle. She hears weir noises and discovers a bedridden cousin and a secret garden. Oh! And she also becomes BFF with an animal charmer who charms his way into my heart as well, Dickon.
Y’all, this whole book, The Secret Garden, to me is about growth and change. It’s about the quiet sort of magic that happens when you let your barriers down and trust others. Mary goes from being a petulant child to one who finds satisfaction working with the earth and pleasure in the company of others. I love that. I love the gentleness the story takes on towards her, if that makes sense, the sort of softening she has towards other people. Colin, too changes with Mary, from being bedridden acting out in fits of rage to desperately wanting to live and walk and make friends with others.
Friends, I am filled with the joy of listening to and reading a very special book. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure which form of story I encountered first in my life, but I am very glad it still captures readers today and I am also glad that it is just as good if not better than I remembered.
As for the audio, I listened to the Tantor audio version narrated by Josephine Bailey who is a competent narrator. She has the perfect English accent and does the voice of petulant Mary very, very well. However, I got exactly what I paid for — the audio was part of a 99 cent sale on Audible and the production quality was not great. There were awkward pauses and a few bits that sounded static-y. I think this audiobook version of The Secret Garden could do with a remastering.
Disclosure: Purchased copy.
Other reviews of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett:
That’s What She Read – “a wonderful reminder of the healing power of nature, laughter, and love”
A Room Of One’s Own – “This novel is about secrets — locked doors and locked hearts.”