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“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing.”

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A Little Princess began as a short story called “Sara Crewe, or What Happened at Miss Minchin’s,” which was later expanded into a play, The Little Un-Fairy Princess, and finally published in novel form. The basic story in each version is the same: Wealthy, princess-like Sara Crewe loses her money after some unfortunate business dealings hasten her father’s death and is forced by the hostile and bitter headmistress of her school to work as a servant. Despite the horrific conditions she must now live under, Sara fights to maintain her dignity and graciousness and is finally discovered by her father’s former business partner and is restored to the wealth that wasn’t lost after all.

However, the earlier versions lack certain elements present in the final novel. Sometimes details are different, and Sara’s characterization undergoes a shift too. I will now elaborate on the details of these differences in the short story (saving the play for another time), and it’s going to get long.

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Title: The Secret Garden

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Pages: 291

Rating: 5/5

Plot: Mary moves from India to live with her estranged uncle and finds a garden that has been locked up for several years.The book follows Mary making friends and becoming a better person. 

Interest: A dear friend of mine told me she loves this book and encouraged me to get a copy.

Favorite Character: Dickon is such a wonderful character who is in tune with the world in such a way that I want to be. He brings out the best in everyone. 

Favorite Quote: However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow.’

Feelings at the End: This is such a feel good book. A spring book that makes you feel like growing, not only a garden, but yourself. Heartwarming is how I’d describe this book. 

Pros: Beautiful descriptions of nature and people. The character growth of everyone in this story is amazing. 

Cons: Being written in 1911, there are a few incidences of crude portrayals and problematic references, namely in Indians and Africans. 

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guys I’m so mad. I woke up at 1am with a jolt and the intense need to find a book I read as a kid based on the vaguest description ever and? it’s the beginning of The Secret Garden. as I frantically googled search terms and phrases, I got the faint impression that it was The Secret Garden, but that just didn’t feel right! but it was! WHY did my brain focus on the part that’s like “they lived in India and everyone died of cholera” ??? I was convinced that was the entire plot of the book I was looking for and now I’m mad that it’s not.

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
Why do you keep looking at me like that?”
“Because of the dreams that are so real,” he answered rather fretfully. “Sometimes when I open my eyes I don’t believe I’m awake.”
“We’re both awake,” said Mary. She glanced round the room with its high ceiling and shadowy corners and dim firelight. “It looks quite like a dream, and it’s the middle of the night, and everyone in the house is asleep—everybody but us. We are wide awake.
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