The Book of Hours
Burnett's delightful twist on children's literature takes readers on a journey of personal growth and gradual connection with the natural world. In the face of her parents' deaths, Mary comes to develop an appreciation for herself as well as the people and life around her. The Secret Garden is ultimately a tale of nature's capacity to break emotional and physical bounds, ultimately strengthening the human spirit.
A delightful childhood tale for both young readers and adults, The Secret Garden oversees Mary Lennox's exploration of both the natural world and the self. Burnett's characterization of Mary as a spoiled, privileged young girl comes from a place of realism. Although she admittedly arises from unfortunate beginnings, having lost her parents as a result of the cholera outbreak, Mary displays particular disagreeableness that fails to resemble Tom Sawyer's equally matched charm and characteristic mischievousness. Yet, her role as a character still remains equally as valuable. Through her exposure to nature, she comes to find an appreciation for both the physical and natural world. Ahead of her time, Burnett additionally examines the life of disability and the dehumanizing experience of being labeled as an "invalid" through the development of Colin Craven, Mary's sickly cousin, who resides in a hidden bedroom. Through Colin's overcoming of his psychosomatic illness, Burnett demonstrates the healing power of nature and its ability to reconnect one with the self.
May you find words of resonance in this childhood classic, one of growth, friendship, and adventure.
~Kimberley, owner of The Admont Library