Frances Hodgson Burnett
It has been a long time since I last submitted a review for you all. It has been quite a year as I am sure you will all agree! Through all this - whatever you want to call it - there is always an opportunity to learn something about life. My country has been in lockdown just like many of you out there. I found myself at home (a place I love to be) and being made to remain in this quiet place. It was so quiet without traffic, even though I live out in the country. I heard birds singing like never before, I saw horses running that I had walked past daily but never noticed playing, I felt a calm all around that is hard to explain. In all that calm there was no library open! But.... I have a Kindle.
I opened my Kindle and went searching for a classic. Why a classic? I have no answer except that for some reason this past year I have discovered a new world of literacy in the pages of a good classic. My search led me to The Secret Garden. I remembered how much I loved the movie and clicked 'buy'. A choice I have not regretted since.
When I started reading I thought about all the links to the world we are in today. Mary lives in India where she is looked after by everyone but her mother. This is not to say that we don't look after our children today as of course we do, but I have noticed that many people have opted not to send their little ones back to school or day-care here yet where prior to our lockdown it was almost a given that I'd send my kids to day-care, kindergarten and school. Then, they had an outbreak of Cholera and Mary was sent to live with her uncle. Hence, I thought 'interesting' and kept reading.
Oh my goodness was I in for a treat.
Mary was a little ratbag, to say the least. Talk about being an entitled little brat. Then she finds Colin. What can I say about Colin, he is worse. Now don't be too quick to judge these little ones! They are only 10 years old and know nothing else of the world other than that which the adults have shown them, or rather in this case - not shown them.
As Mary explores the outside world of the garden and finds the secret garden that dwells within, she is transformed. As the garden is weeded and loved, so too Mary is weeded and transformed. She finds a friendship in Dicken, who is such an adorable wee lad, and learns a simple thing called kindness. Mary and Dicken introduce Colin to the world beyond his bedroom walls and he too transforms.
How many of you have been transformed through all the changes around you. In my country there is by far more little acts of kindness happening and I hope that it grows just as it did in Mary, Colin and the garden.
One of the things that really sparked my interest was the way in which they found words played a pivotal part of what happened. Every word and thought created an action and reaction. I hear this flicked around the place loads and found it of great interest that a kids book from 1911 (109 years ago!) acknowledged it. They also put emphasis on the importance of fresh air, play and good hearty natural food in their improvement of health. I sat reading thinking "Come on! They are still studying this but knew about it all naturally back in 1911?)
So, I was left thinking "How far has the world come". We have another pandemic. We are acknowledging more and more that our thoughts and words have an effect (do a search and see all the new books entering the market on this topic). We are constantly saying that we lack vitamin D and need to get outside more. They knew all this, as a natural fact, over 100 years ago and it was naturally written into a children's book!
Maybe we should all go back and read the old children's books. Or, at least try reading a classic there is a wealth of knowledge to be taken from these pieces of literature.
Is that enough to get your interest sparked? Try reading a classic, I for one am going to read more of them, now that I have discovered a world from the past that actually wrote some good stories.