Description: When orphaned Mary Lennox, lonely and sad, comes to live at her uncle's great house on the Yorkshire moors, she finds it full of secrets. At night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors. Outside, she meets Dickon, a magical boy who can charm and talk to animals. Then, one day, with the help of a friendly robin, Mary discovers the most mysterious wonder of all -- a secret garden, walled and locked, which has been completely forgotten for years and years. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life? (from Amazon.com)
My Thoughts: The Secret Garden is a cute story. It contained absolutely beautiful descriptions of the moor and the garden. (reading this really made me want to go outside!!) The other aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the characters: all of them seemed real and flawed. I enjoyed watching all of them change for the better.
Unfortunately, The Secret Garden also contained a lot about "Magic." Until almost the end of the book, Magic seemed like it could just represent God and His presence all around us and in everyone, and it was a beautiful concept. It reminds me of the Quaker idea of the inner light, or the presence of God in every person. By the end, however, it was clear that Magic was the life force in everyone and the power of positive thinking, which I find more troubling and more idolatrous (not helped by the implicit message that Nature is pure, perfect, and unsullied by human brokenness).
Yes, being outside can really change someone's life, maybe make them a better person--but only through God and as His creation. Nature by itself can cure no ills.