I tackled The Secret Garden in an extremely busy week, so here’s another book I should have flown through, but instead was reading just a few pages a day. It took me a week, which is shameful considering I could have read it in a matter of two or three hours, had I done it in one sitting.
As I was reading I was really transported back to my childhood, although not to my memories of the book. I assumed I had read this when I was younger – I certainly owned it – but I found very little of the book recognisable. There were things that I expected to happen that didn’t, and things popped up that quite surprised me. Then the other day as I was on my way out, I suddenly noticed the 1993 film had just started on some obscure channel.
I ended up watching the whole thing, and realised that all my memories of the story were entirely based on the film, which differs quite a lot from the book. I loved watching it, and was particularly amused to notice that the young boy playing Dickon looked really familiar to me. A quick Google revealed that I now know him as Dirtbox from Gavin and Stacey, among other things. The young girl playing Mary was outstanding, I thought – she was perfect in the way she started off so smug and ignorant and gradually developed into a likeable, sociable young girl.
This is such a timeless story. I’ve noticed that a lot of the older books – ie anything written before about 1930 – are really heavy on God, religion and church, which can date some books as a lot of people simply can’t relate to that. It was really nice to read something that isn’t so pious. In fact if anything this book borders on Pagan in the reverence it shows for nature. Mary’s transformation is attributed completely to fresh air, theYorkshiremoors and time spent in the garden.
All in all this is a refreshing read, easy and gentle and nostalgic.