Writing my about page earlier reminded me of my first favorite book-The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was a birthday gift; a week after my birthday it came in mail from a distant aunt, and I remember touching it lightly in awe as my mother held it out for me to see. The book is beautiful, covered in velvet with gold detailing. As I opened it and read it, that awe I first felt never really went away.
To me, it was exotic, taking place in India, a place known to me at the age of nine only because elephants lived there, and the Yorkshire, a weird place in England I had never heard of before. And the big house! With the secret rooms! And the secret garden! It was all so mysterious and exotic to me. But it was still so relate-able. Friendship and play were the key components of the story, and what kid can’t relate to those? That wonderful mix of exotic and relate-able created a sort of magic that can never be diminished.
I’ve ruined the binding having read the book so much, maybe ten or twelve times. Each time I open it I still feel the magic I felt the first time I read it, ready to be taken to the Yorkshire marshes full of hidden surprises. The Secret Garden was my first “favorite book,” and it is the book that caused me to fall in love with reading, a love I still have today. No matter how many other books I read, and no matter how fantastic and inspiring they are, The Secret Garden will always maintain a special place in my heart.