Tuesday, June 13, 2006

(Back To) The Secret Garden

Way, way back in 1994, the Popular bookstore in town had this huge collection of 'complete and unabridged' classics in paperback, selling for RM2.90 - RM3.90 each. That was when my bestfriend and I hauled in a considerable number of the usual titles - Journey to the Center of the Earth, King Solomon's Mines, Little Women, Lorna Doone - and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden is the story of Mary Lennox, her sickly cousin, Colin and Dickon, the boy who foxes and crows loved, the locked-up garden which they tended, and the Magic in it. I loved this story so much I read and re-read the book several times. I am not sure how many times my bestfriend read the book, but I knew the characters made quite an impression on her too. We'd have discussions on the story, the characters and such. And my bestfriend, the ever hopeless romantic, once pondered over who Mary will end up with - Colin or Dickon - when they grow up. She personally favoured Dickon, but a sequel to the book was never actually written.

Last weekend, surfing the TV channels for something to watch, I stumbled upon a movie called "Back to the Secret Garden" on Hallmark Channel, which was just going to start. I didn't give it much thought until I saw the words "Based on characters created by Frances Hodgson Burnett" displayed across the screen. I decided to watch it.

Truly, it was, in a way, a sequel to The Secret Garden. Mary was now the mistress of Misselthwaite Manor, the mansion in which she grew up, and had turned it into a home for orphaned children. Martha, her friend and Dickon's sister, the housemaid in the original story, is now the housekeeper. When I heard Mary addressed as "Lady Mary Craven", I knew that in this sequel, Mary had married Colin. Whatever happened to Dickon then? My bestfriend would be thoroughly heartbroken to know that in this (horrible) sequel, Dickon 'gave his life for his country' - died in war, I suppose. How sad. And the 'secret garden' was mysteriously 'dying' - but ultimately saved by a little orphan girl. It was a silly sequel. A wonderful, magical classic made silly by movie sequels. Sigh.

How sad!

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