OK I have insomnia and although I didn’t officially join in this book club XIX, I will risk it to buck the rules and give you a recent re-read. This book is the reason in childhood I began my journey into magick. Thank you Frances!
Book title and author: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgkin Burnett; Written in 1898 and published in 1911
How does this book relate to my magickal practice: Frances Burnett has very subtly challenged science with magic. Colin’s uncle, Dr. Craven, is in charge of his recovery. As much as he would have liked, he is unable to pointedly say what is wrong with his patient. He makes guesses and is sometimes left in a state of surprise at Colin’s well-being. Until Colin is taken to the garden that is believed to possess magical powers, his ailment remains a mystery. In the garden, he gains clarity. He becomes positive. He takes steps away from his wheelchair. He walks.
My personal thoughts/opinions: I love this book, it’s a classic go to for me. The Secret Garden is about a particularly arrogant and unpleasant girl called Mary. At the start of the book, she lives in India, but is forced to leave for her uncle’s mansion in England in order to escape a devastating outbreak of cholera.
I really liked the book, as it was heartwarming to see Mary change from a horrible, spoiled brat to a sweet-hearted girl. The best scene for me is when Mary first finds the garden that was hidden for a decade, as the description left such a clear image in my mind. She takes Colin to the reformed garden and his healing is magical and complete . The magic of good company, positive thoughts, and the garden rests upon him.
The book is one of those rare ones that manage to achieve that balance between being simple and relatable enough for children while containing great lessons for adults. Although this is so obviously a children’s book, the author’s campaign for the importance of one’s environment / the people you relate with daily, positivity and optimism is potent and relatable to adults too.
An interesting quote from the book:
“Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it.”
. . . . . . . . . .
“When a man looks at the stars, he grows calm and forgets small things. They answer his questions and show him that his earth is only one of the million worlds. Hold your soul still and look upward often, and you will understand their speech. Never forget the stars.”
. . . . . . . . . .
“Two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way – or always to have it.”
All in all, would I recommend this book? Yes! However, I would not recommend this book for people who do not care for nature, as there is a lot of description about flowers and trees and well, gardens!! This is a must-read for people who are interested about nature, but other readers could enjoy it too if they choose to embrace nature.