A Secret Garden


As I am in a sentimental mood, I want to share with you my favorite book from ages 12 to 16.

I think reading the Secret Garden about every 3 to 6 months made me actually bearable during my adolescence. When you’re worried about characters (who are your friends) who are battling 19th century medicine and cholera, how can the humdrum annoyances of a typical 20th century adolescent compare.

As a bonus, my copy was a library discard from my Elementary school and was published in 1911.  (Since the original printing was in 1910, that’s pretty early.) The pages feel like cloth in comparison to modern books, so that adds a visceral element to the re-reading the book.

The author is Frances Hodgson Burnett who also wrote a Little Princess which has a really famous movie version from 1939 starring Shirley Temple.  Whatever you do, do not watch the 1980s Hallmark Hall of Fame adaption of a Secret Garden…they add a coda and kill off one of the major characters during the Great War. Major downer.

Since a Secret Garden was published in 1910, that means that it’s in the public domain. So a print copy should be pretty inexpensive, or you can download a copy from Project Gutenberg.

And as a bonus, In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, since I can’t even say that phrase without thinking of this song.

If that doesn’t chill you out, nothing ever will.


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