The Secret Garden

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US hardcover, 1st edition.

The Secret Garden is a young adult novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and serialized in a magazine in 1910 before being published as a book in the August of 1911. The story takes place in the late 1800s and is about a girl named Mary Lennox whose rich parents ignore her and pass off raising her to their servants who, not being allowed to discipline her, allow the girl to become spoiled and lazy. Living in British-colonized India, the parents don't respond to a cholera epidemic soon enough and the whole family is killed except for Mary. Mary is brought back to England to live with her wealthy but distant uncle who provides her food and shelter, but no guidance. While walking the grounds of the manor and pestering the servants, Mary discovers a walled garden that has been permanently closed off. She learns that her uncle and aunt loved the garden and worked in it together, but when her aunt suddenly died, her uncle locked it up and buried the key. Mary, learns to become a better person by talking with the servants, finds her way into the secret garden, and discovers that she has a cousin also hidden away in the manor.


As a child, my sister saw a movie rendition of this book. I remember parts of the movie and thinking it was pretty good, but that's about it. When my daughters were born, my sister gifted them a used copy.


This book is in the public domain. I own a paperback copy of this book. I read it about halfway through, but got bored and quit.


— This section contains spoilers! —


  • Nothing.


  • For the most part, Mary becomes a better person simply by living in England. It would have been better if she learned how to be a better person by seeing how her selfish actions actually hurt people.
  • The robin introduces a semi-supernatural element to the book. I prefer my fiction to either be completely supernatural or completely natural. When there is a tiny bit of supernatural I have a hard time suspending my disbelief.


  • I found the book to be pretty boring.


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