Saturday 17 September 2016

Reviewing the Classics #5 The Secret Garden

                                  Goodreads Summary:

Mary Lennox was horrid. Selfish and spoilt, she was sent to stay with her hunchback uncle in Yorkshire. She hated it.

But when she finds the way into a secret garden and begins to tend it, a change comes over her and her life. She meets and befriends a local boy, the talented Dickon, and comes across her sickly cousin Colin who had been kept hidden from her. Between them, the three children work astonishing magic in themselves and those around them


  I remember trying to read this book around six years ago, but for some reason I have up about halfway through, so for this months classic I was determined to finally read the whole thing! The book follows Mary Lennox, a ten year old girl who's parents tragically die due to a cholera epidemic. Mary has grown up having servants do everything for her, so she is surprised when she has to move to Yorkshire, where the servants treat her almost as their equals. Mary soon meets Dickon, her servants younger brother who loves the company of animals, and Colin, her cousin who everyone believes won't live to grow up. When they find a garden that no one has been into for ten years, they decide to work on it and make it their own.

I thought this was a nice light read, and although not much happens in terms of action, I enjoyed this book. Mary starts out as being extremely selfish, and treats the servants more like slaves. She is obnoxious and bratty, but with the help of Dickon, as Yorkshire boy who spends most of his time on the moor, she soon becomes a lot more pleasant. I loved the change in Mary's personality, and how she ends up realising how awful she used to be. I also loved how she made Colin realise he was exactly how she used to be, and helped him to want to go outside and get better instead of laying in bed complaining that he was going to die. Although Colin is spoilt, I did feel sorry for him, as no one seemed to want to help him get better, and everyone had scared him into believing that he was inevitably going to die young and have a crooked back. Colin soon becomes a hypochondriac, and is terrified that he is growing a lump on his back. I loved how Mary was the only person brave enough to be firm with him, and made him realise that the only reason his back and legs were so weak was because he never got out of bed.

Dickon was my favourite character, and I loved how he brought his animals to Colin to show him what he was missing out on by not going outside. I loved the friendships between the three children, and how Mary and Dickon both encouraged Colin to get better. I loved how it showed that although it was up to Colin to make himself better, having good friends who encouraged and supported him was also equally as important to his recovery. As all anyone ever told him previously was that he was too weak and was going to die, he had given up and never even attempted to prove them wrong, so I loved it when he got angry when Ben repeated the rumours, and proved him wrong by standing.

Although I adored the characters, I was often bored by the plot itself, particularly when some of the mysteries were solved quite early on in the book. I felt that once Colin started to get better, there were no longer any surprises, and I ended up getting a little bored of the constant descriptions of the garden. I definitely enjoyed the first half more than the second, as I loved the mysteries such as the cry in the corridor and Mary trying to discover how to get inside the garden. I felt as if nothing happened in the second half other than the children digging in the garden, eating and helping Colin get better. I did however love that Colin achieved his goal in the end and proved everyone wrong! I thought this gave a positive message that just because people tell you that you can't do something doesn't mean they are right. Although this isn't usually the sort of book I would read, I did enjoy it and i'm glad that I finally managed to read the whole book!


  1. Hello, I have a copy of this book for a while now but I haven’t read it yet because I’m quite worried that it is a slow read and I don’t have the time for such books at the moment. I can’t decide whether to read it or not. Would you recommend it to someone with less time to read?
    Lisa (

  2. Hello! It's not the most action packed book to be honest but i still enjoyed it and loved the character development. It's also quite short so you could probably get through it in a couple of hours if you decided to read it! I wouldn't go so far as to call it dull or boring but it's definitely not action packed.