CSLJ Book Club Discussion of The Secret Garden – Day 7

Our book club discussion of The Secret Garden will soon be over but we have time for one last chat.

Today’s discussion questions are:

  • Who do you think the main character of The Secret Garden is? Mary Lennox or Colin Craven? Why?
  • What do you think happened to Mary, Colin, Dickon, and the Garden after the book ended?
  • Are there any books, films, etc. that you would recommend to a fan of the Secret Garden?

As always, you can leave your thoughts and comments here or on Facebook.

I hope that you all enjoyed the book and our conversation. Please join us next month for our read of Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella. We officially begin reading the book on April 29th and our discussion will run from  June 3rd to June 10th. Until then, take care and happy reading!

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12 Responses to CSLJ Book Club Discussion of The Secret Garden – Day 7

    • Interesting thought Melanie. I never really considered her before but you are right that she is very important to the story.

  1. I think Mary and the Garden trade off as the main character. My impressions of what happens after the book are influenced by last moments of this movie version of the book. I love this movie almost as much as the Anne of Green Gables movies. It feels true to the book to me.

    I also enjoyed this ‘sequel’ just for fun.

    • Was this the adaptation that had a grown up Mary and Colin reuniting in the garden after years of being separated by WWI? It’s been so long since I watched any movie but I remember that scene very vividly.

      As for the Anne of Green Gables movie, that was a major part of my childhood. I loved it almost as much as I loved the books and I was just heartbroken to hear that the gentleman who played Gilbert passed away last week. Gilbert Blythe was one of my earliest book crushes and Jonathan Crombie was wonderful at bringing that character to life.

    • Thank you for joining us Kirsten. I have really enjoyed reading your comments about the book and I hope you will be able to join us for another discussion in the future.

  2. I want Mary to be the main character so bad it hurts. Mary Lennox is one of the major heroines of children’s literature and I really like her by the end of things but there is something about the way the book ends that bothers me. Around the time that Colin makes it into the garden, he starts to take center stage and Mary becomes more and more a support for him rather than a character with her own growth and development anymore. Maybe it’s because Mary didn’t have as far to go in her path but it bothers me how phased out she gets towards the end. She says one thing in the final two chapters and in the final scene when the manor is shocked to see Mr. Craven and Colin walking up to the house, she is no where to be seen.

    Of course, the story wouldn’t have happened with Mary but I do wish that the author had given her a resolution that was uniquely hers rather than a supporting role in someone else’s story.

    • I completely agree! Maybe it is because she doesn’t have as far to go on her journey but I liked her more than Colin. He was the center of the house and he also became the center of the garden.

  3. As for what happens next, I am not sure. I remember watching a film version of the book where Mary and Colin grow up and end up together (it not being a big deal for cousins to marry back then) and Dickon getting killed in WWI and that has always stuck with me. But that is too sad so I am going to choose to believe that Mary and Colin grew up and thrived and maybe (if you can get past the whole cousin thing) really did end up together, especially since they were the only significant other who could truly understand where they came from, how far they had come and why that garden was so important. Plus also, Mary wouldn’t have to leave the garden when she grew up and married and maybe one year she would give birth to a little girl named Lilias who loves roses and learns to walk within the walls of the garden. If it were up to me, Dickon would grow up and take over for Ben as the only gardener allowed to work in the Secret Garden after Ben retired. His only responsibility would be that one garden so he would still have lots of time to wander the moor and maybe he would join Beatrix Potter in preserving some of the wild spots he loved for future generations. His wages help support his mother and helps Martha get a cottage of her own when the time comes for her to marry and settle down. And, as the book says, delight reigns. Anyway, that’s how I would end the story.

    (Just as a side note, I never really realized how much of my favorite literature overlapped. If the children in the Secret Garden were young adults during WWI, then they are contemporaries of the Crawley clan from Downton Abbey, Mrs. Sowersby is around the same age as Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables books, and somewhere around this time in the fictional England in my head a magician’s nephew is making his way into Narnia.)

  4. Hmm, so in my head (sappy romantic head that it is) – it is Mary & Dickon who end up together. I assume Colin marries someone they can all like and a new generation of children discover the garden. I do not think your film version is the same one I like. It has only the faintest hint of the grown-ups at the end.
    I did hear about the actor who played Gilbert and that is very sad. That whole cast did a fantastic job bringing that world to life. Completely off topic – did you watch the film adaptation of The Railway Children? If you like movies in that period, you might like it. I cannot remember if it is a BBC production.

    • I’ve actually missed both the film and the book of The Railway Children although my mom has mentioned it as one her favorites growing up. I have it on the list to read some day but it’s a pretty long list and I haven’t gotten to everything yet.

      Thanks for the recommendation. I will have to move it closer to the top of the to-read

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