8 out of 10.
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden tells the story of a ten-year old girl named Mary who is taken in by her wealthy uncle, Mr. Craven when her parents die of a cholera epidemic in India. Her entire life Mary has been ignored and unloved, therefore growing into a high-tempered, spoiled child. Then she finds a neglected garden behind the manor and starts to tend for it in secret. One day Mary finds Colin Craven, a boy her age who is convinced he will die young because of constant sickness. Through the secret garden, both of them start to learn what true happiness is like. And as the garden matures and blossoms, the two characters do as well. The main emphasize of the story is that at the root of every illness is unhappiness, and that positive thoughts can combat any disease.
The reader will admire Burnett’s constant imagery as winter turns to spring and the garden comes alive. Many details are painstaking written to fully bring the garden to life in one’s mind. Because the novel is written from mainly the point of view of Mary and sometimes Colin, everything is viewed through their childish eyes. They approach situations like keeping the garden secret with a naïve, often unrealistic eye, but the insight offers a refreshing view on how ten-year olds think. I rate this book an 8 out of 10 because some minor plot lines are a little too coincidental or not entirely believable, like how everything goes down perfectly for a happy-ever-after ending. This book would be most enjoyed by children from 6-13 because there are no inappropriate topics or profanity.