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16.02.2014
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a classic children’s tale that I think adults can enjoy too. The Secret Garden is a tale of Mary Lennox, an orphaned girl around the age of ten, who is sent to live at Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England with her uncle Mr. I knew this story inside and out because I had seen the movie several times before I knew that it was based on the book written by Burnett. Although, this story by the description can sound rather morbid, with Mary being sickly and orphaned when she arrives, her uncle being an unhappy widowed hunchback and Colin being doomed to a sad, unhealthy and short life, it is actually a story of hope. Since I studied psychology, I know that in the past, people with mental health disorders were locked up (usually chained) in the cold, dark basements of asylums. I think that it is a great story for children and it also makes me want to spend more time outside and for anyone who is interested in flowers or gardening, I’m sure it would get you itching to get gardening. I could reread The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe one hundred times and never fail to notice something new. I LIKED THIS NOVEL THE SECRET GARDEN AS IT CREATES LIVELINESS AND ENCOURAGES TO DO SOMETHING .
I love the book so far!I am reading the book for book club and my hole group likes it.You have inspired me to do more,with writing. Nicole BasarabaNicole Basaraba is a Canadian writer focusing on topics of travel, culture, literature and publishing, and communications. A spoiled, selfish young girl, Mary Lennox (Kate Maberly) is orphaned and goes to live in a vast, loveless house on the Yorkshire moors. When Cholera takes the parents of Mary Lennox, she is shipped from India to England to live with her Uncle Craven.
I can say that there are a few discrepancies in the story between the movie and the book, but it stayed mostly true to Burnett’s world. Once the patients were given access to the grounds and fresh air, they began to improve with this adjustment to their lifestyle alone. Craven’s journey to health and happiness and this growth is paralleled in the awakening and fostering of the secret garden. I enjoyed reading the book so much that I want to read it again just so I can stay in the Secret Garden longer.


No wonder, then, that Hollywood had already filmed the story: the 1949 black and white film simplified and Americanised the characters for the screen, but was memorable for the way it burgeoned into colour for the garden sequences, And there was a lavishly produced, though indifferently acted, BBC production in 1987. Archibald Craven's house is dark, drafty, with over 100 rooms built on the edge of the moors. When watching the film, one hears the word "servant," but Mary's mouth is clearly forming the word "Aya" as in other versions of The Secret Garden. Known as Mistress Mary Quite Contrary when she arrives in England, Mary soon finds an appreciation for the moorland and gardens. The symbolism is simple, but is weaved in so well that the reader can enjoy watching the simultaneous growths. However, this story focuses heavily on description and most of the time, it is a pleasure to read. I enjoy many children’s stories,too many to name here, but some of my faves are by EB White, Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Eve Bunting, and CS Lewis. I think that children’s classics might be on the horizon for this book club for a few more months because there are so many good ones to read!
But it took a Polish director, an American executive producer (Francis Ford Coppola) and an almost entirely British cast and crew, led by cinematographer Roger Deakins and designer Stuart Craig, to put together this version - and it’s a beauty. Mary finds that her Uncle does not wish to see her, which is fine with Mary as she herself is rude and spoiled. Dickon, the brother of Martha who is one of the manor’s servants, being savvy with nature, helps her grow the garden. There are times though that you may find yourself reading over some paragraphs that seem very similar to previous descriptions of the nature.
While walking the gardens the next day, Mary notices that there is a area in the garden surrounded with a high stone wall and no doorway. After she spends some time outside in the fresh air, running, listening to birds and animals, and looking at the nature, she beings to grow stronger and healthier. The continuity is dismayingly amateurish early on - the dirt on Mary Lennox’s face rarely stays in one place for two consecutive shots. By the path, the raven unearths the hidden key so that Mary and Dickon are able to enter the walled garden to find it overgrown and neglected.


The director makes too little use of the coldness of the interiors (they are lit, instead, with a kind of autumnal glow which gives them the aura of advertisements for English Heritage).
Inside the house, she finds that Archibald has a son named Colin, who is crippled and as spoiled as she.
I could certainly have done without the heavenly chorus which swells whenever a plant comes into focus; and the climax is prolonged to the point of irritation. Nevertheless, the American screenwriter Caroline Thompson wrote a magical screenplay for Edward Scissorhands, and she’s pulled off the same trick again. She has even spotted some largely unnoticed undertones of the original: the quasi-sexual relationship between Mary and Dickon, the extent to which the three children’s relationship is an emotional triangle in the making. In doing so, it must be admitted, Thompson is following every cinematic precedent of the Nineties.
Fatherhood, or the absence of fathers, seems to be the burning cinematic topic of that decade.
In the film, the servants’ wearing of surgical masks when visiting the invalid Colin is laughable: in the book, there is more sense that they may have a point, that Mary Lennox may be meddling in things she doesn’t understand.
Maggie Smith offers a much richer, more comic interpretation: here is a woman who is fundamentally well-meaning but medically naive, insensitive, fearful for her job, and a stickler for Victorian ideas of discipline.
She is, in her way, endearingly eccentric - and there’s a lovely moment towards the end when Martha the maid consoles her, in the movie’s one concession to a mother-daughter relationship. The director has wisely resisted all Hollywood temptation to sweeten them, so their journey from brattishness to openness is all the more realistic and unaffected - and, as a consequence, very affecting.
Anyone of any age should enjoy this lovely, lively, often enchanting film - and it’s such an effective weepie that it will make even the most hard-hearted of us wish we had shares in Kleenex.



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