Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Secret Garden

 The Secret Garden

Disclaimer: Obviously, this is a detour from my planned summer reading list. I don't have a good excuse other than I really wanted to read this again. And I know the book photo I have posted here is a link to one of the Kindle editions, but this is the cover of the paperback that I own.


 I don't know how many times I've read The Secret Garden. My parents have a gorgeous hardcover edition with illustrations by Tasha Tudor. As a child, I'm pretty sure my favorite thing about the book was the illustrations. Tasha Tudor's idyllic pictures showed me a world I wish I could have...even at the age of six.

Honestly, I could write an entire blog post on Tudor and why her illustrations and her stories have shaped me into the old-fashioned girl that I am. But I won't do that today!

Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote many books. I've only read a few of them; the other one I can remember at the moment is A Little Princess, which also happens to be a favorite.

Anyway, I won't go into the details of this book, because it's one that almost everyone has read at some point in their life. I just want to state that the theme of resurrection throughout the book is the best part. Mary and Dickon bringing the garden to life...Colin's whole body being healed...all of it is so beautiful.
Granted, I don't know if Burnett was a Christian or not. The inclusion of Magic in this book and her way of looking at nature makes me think maybe not, but it doesn't change the fact that this is a glorious little book and makes one feel very good inside.


Children's literature from the Victorian era is such a happy place. Seriously. I think more children today (and adults, for that matter) ought to read books like this and take note of things. The world was more uptight then, but I don't think that was a bad thing. Obviously, I don't endorse everything about the Victorian era, but it seems to me that we could learn a thing or two about the morals and values they had.

The Secret Garden receives five stars from me, partly for nostalgia, but mostly because it is a well-written and wholesome story.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Go Ask Alice

I've had a copy of Go Ask Alice around for a few years now. It actually belongs to my friend Jenni and I will now finally be able to give it back to her because I finally remembered I had it and read it.

It was a quick read, and an insightful one. It's a book that was relevant when it was first released and is still relevant today, despite the differences in pop culture. The title comes from a song, which is referencing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I have a big problem with this, though there's nothing I can do about it. Lewis Carroll was not on drugs. End of story.

But the thing is, the effects of drugs are still quite real and according to the descriptions in Go Ask Alice, they can seem like a wonderland while on them. The anonymous teenager who inadvertently ingests LSD at a party suddenly wants more and more of this feeling. She swings back and forth from wanting drugs to not wanting to have anything to do with them. This in the end totally ruins her life, which is the point of the story. There's not even much more to say than that many of the diary entries do truly read like a teenage girl's diary. Some of the things she is concerned about are thing I remember being concerned about at that age. So it's relatable, which makes it a good read for teens, especially girls.


Go Ask Alice isn't a novel.
It isn't even the most well-written book ever.
But it's not supposed to be.
It's supposed to be a published diary of a teenage girl.
Those don't read like novels.
Trust me, I would know.
But the thing is, this anonymous teenager might have been real; her story might have been exactly this; might have been.
But I think it's heavily edited.
It could be nonfiction.
It could be fiction.
But none of that matters.
This is a tale of addiction and hopefully it has done its job of scaring teens (and adults, for that matter) off ever using drugs.
I know I never wanted to before reading this, but now I especially don't want to.


So, I give it four stars. People now may complain it's outdated, with the nonexistent cell phones and the talk about hippies (hey, they still exist...), etc. But the message of the book is timeless, and no one should blow it off.