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While rearranging my books I came across an almost ancient copy of The Secret Garden which my Dad had bought for me when I was still in school. It was lying there, unopened. I sat down to read it & simultaneously started downloading the movie based on the book.

The book:

When Mary Lennox, a spoilt and obstinate girl whose parents have died of cholera, is sent from India to England, she becomes inescapably drawn into the secrets of Misselthwaite Manor and its inhabitants. What is the strange crying she hears in the night? Who is the boy that talks with the birds? And where is the key to the forbidden garden that was sealed up ten years ago?

– Amazon

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I called myself all sorts of fools for ignoring this book for so long. It is the sort of book you just fall in love with.

Beautifully written, the descriptions of the moors, the flowers, the gardens, the petulant Mary & Colin, Dickon & all his wonderful animals, the Robin, Martha & her mother, each & every character is perfectly written. I loved Mary & Dickon’s friendship & Dickon’s bonding with the animals. There is nothing to not like in this book.

Although written for children it is by no means childish. It is the sort of book any person can read irrespective of his age & enjoy it to the fullest.

 

The movie:

Like most movies based on books, this one too did not do justice to the book. It was nothing like the book. The one thing which it could have done better was using CGI to depict all the lovely moors, gardens, animals & other things of natural beauty. Instead the book proved superior even there for what I read painted a far beautiful picture than what I saw.

I hated that they turned Dickon – Mary’s friendship into some childhood love story in the making with Colin being typically jealous. Mary & Dickon are better off as the best of friends.

The movie sidelined Nature which is as important a hero in the novel as Mary. Ignoring Mrs. Sowerby completely was another mistake. Also, some of the changes were just plain silly. For example why did Mary’s parents have to die in an earthquake instead of a cholera?

No comparison can be made between the book & the movie. The book is a must read. You may skip the movie & you won’t be missing much at all.

 

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