The film version of this book was one of my favourite films growing up, it just has such a lovely story and you can’t help but fall in love with Sara, the main character. I thought I had read the book version a good few years back but as this was free on my Ereader I thought I’d give it another go since I haven’t seen the film in years and thought it would be a nice easy read for myself. Turns out I actually don’t think I ever read this book. It ends slightly differently to the film and I don’t ever remember reading the real version of events from the author.
Basically it’s set way back in olden days England (I have no clue of the precise year, I won’t even hazard a guess) where young girls were regularly sent away to boarding schools to become ‘proper’ ladies. Sara was born in India where her father is stationed in the military. He seems to be an extremely well off man who is obviously quite high up in the military and also has a multitude of other lucrative businesses. He sends Sara away to boarding school only as he sees it as something that is essential to all little girls who want or need to become more educated. Sara accepts this readily enough and because she is treated as basically the princess of the school, mainly because of the large checks her father writes to the proprietor, she finds her niche easily enough.
As you read this book you expect to dislike this child as really with her being as spoiled as she is and treated in such an elevated manner compared to all the other children you would expect her to be an obnoxious, arrogant little brat. On the contrary she is quite the opposite. Sara defies all the odds to retain a sense of humbleness and kindness at all times. It doesn’t matter whether she is talking to the principal or the scullery maid, she treats everyone equally.
When the bad news arrives of her father’s death and Miss Minchin, the proprietor, propels her from the ‘princess of the school’ to little more than a slave at everyone’s bidding, you expect Sara to fall apart. Somehow she does the opposite and continues to flourish and enrapture her former fellow students and her new friend Becky, the scullery maid, with stories and tales. Eventually a happy ending arrives in the form of a mysterious Indian business man who moves in next door to the school. He turns out to be a former business partner of Sara’s father who has been searching for Sara to inform her that she is once again an heiress to a gigantic fortune.
It’s like a real life fairytale even though it’s a book. I really felt like I was reading something that genuinely could have happened years ago, the author just brings both the characters and the setting to life in such a way that makes the whole book so realistic to me. It’s a beautiful story excellently told and just like the film version stuck with me as a child I know the written version will stick with me even longer as an adult.
- Book Review: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (imperfecthappiness.wordpress.com)