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The Secret Garden (3)

77139This has been one my most memorable and rewarding book experiences. The Secret Garden is our book now. Watching and listening to Sophia react to the story unfolding was such a joy and she became very attached to Mary, Colin, Dickon and of course the robin! She reminded me of why i read books in the first place. Sometimes when i keep doing something over and over again it just becomes a habit and i forget to appreciate it.

We actually finished The Secret Garden a few weeks ago but i waited to post this final post as i wanted to also read the original English book. I wanted to compare. The original is a far, far superior experience. The Greek translation is very poor indeed. Both in terms of the quality of translation but also in omitting several important parts from the story.

The greek translation removes a lot of parts relating to side characters and their background such as the Dr Craven, Mrs Medlock and Ben Weatherstaff. In the original they feel more like real people who have their own story waiting to be told but maybe some other time. It makes them more human.

It also inexcusably and more importantly removes the chapter about Mr Craven which i found to be one of the most important in the entire book. I cannot comprehend how they reached the conclusion that this should not be part of the greek version.

In spite of all these shortcomings, the book was still good enough to be appreciated by both us.

In fact, we soon after started reading The Little Prince and we only made it to the first paragraph of the book when Sophia turned to me and said,

“Can we read The Secret Garden again?”

and i replied,

“Sure”

 

 

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Antidote, Books

 

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The Secret Garden (2)

The-Secret-Garden_Inga-Moore_cover-artSlowly but surely, Sophia 6.7 and I, are making progress.

She loves it!

I’ve also started reading the original text in english. There is no doubt that it’s a richer reading experience. For example, in the original a few of the characters speak with Yorkshire accents which gives you a greater sense of place. The greek translation makes no such distinction. Also, some parts have been completely removed making it a shorter read. I don’t know for what purpose. Maybe shorter means more accessible?

It made her think that it was curious how much nicer a person looked when he smiled.

The book itself does feel “old”, for example how it deals with race, but it’s such a wonderful and enjoyable read. While it’s a story which deals with the loss of parents, the death of a wife, a loveless early childhood and loneliness it’s also a book filled with so much optimism and joy for life.

Mary, Sophia and I have finally entered The Secret Garden and we are about to meet young Dickon!

 

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2014 in Books

 

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The Secret Garden (children books)

SecretGarden8Two weeks ago we (finally) managed to start reading The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnet, together with S6.7. After 2 chapters the book is proving to be quite demanding for the both of us.

When S6.7 has a query about a word it’s actually difficult for me to provide her with a good answer due to my own limitations in the greek language. My first instinct is to simply translate the word to english which of course is not very helpful to S6.7….

Also, she has a lot of questions of the “Why” and “What” nature. Normally, i don’t really mind those but the questions here are about things i don’t feel i’m equipped to answer. It’s quite a dense book and even after only 2 chapters there’s a lot going on.

For example, Mary’s parents are neglecting their daughter and several times it’s mentioned that nobody loves her while she did not love anyone and treated people badly.

“Why did her mother neglect her?” asks S6.7. “Why doesn’t anyone love her?”

For the latter i could scrape an answer such as,

“….because she did not feel loved by her parents, she reacted and treated everyone else badly. She grew up being spoiled and only caring about herself. You need to love and treat people well in order for others to love you.”

That still leaves question number 1, the source of Mary’s early loveless childhood, unanswered. Simply tell her that some people are too selfish and prefer to party than take an interest in their children? That just because you have children it does not necessarily mean that you are a good parent? Is that something she can understand?

Then her parents die of cholera.

S6.7: “What is cholera?”

Me: “It’s a disease. They died because of an illness.”

However, to her cholera is too abstract, like a word i made up and to be perfectly honest a disease i don’t know that much about apart from that it’s no longer as great of a threat as it used to be. I could not answer her next question, “What does it do to you?”. But this only motivates me to find out and tell her which is what i promised her i would do (and i did).

This only sidesteps another issue of the next question which i simply cannot give her a good enough answer.

“Why did both her parents die?”.

Is she finding it difficult to understand that someone can grow up with no parents and experience so much grief? I don’t know. The death question shows its face again in Chapter 2 as we learn about Mr Craven’s history (her widowed uncle).

I want to give her answers. There aren’t any that are universally absolute of course. However, the idea is that they are enough to provoke and stimulate her thinking in order to do her own “research” and reach her own conclusions. The thinking process is much more important  to me than the actual conclusions.

I don’t feel that i’m doing that well at the moment and it’s because i don’t know how. I never really thought about things in that way before. Adults have more or less settled on their thinking of things and discussions between us are usually of one trying to impose his own beliefs on another person. With S6.7, we are talking about someone who simply doesn’t know the world but actually wants to know more about it and she has not already decided on what and how she is supposed to think.

When we started reading books with S6.7 i thought it would be a way for us to spend time together and entertain ourselves but in a way that we would both feel engaged. However, due to the nature of this book it seems that it can’t be as simple as that. No, it’s much more.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Books

 

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