Ahoy there me mateys! While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read. In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder! And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends. So I decided to remedy that in this here new(ish) year and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .
a little princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett
This was an old favorite from back when I was a wee youngster. I am not completely sure which edition I first read but I do remember that it had the illustrations by Tasha Tudor from the 1960s (as did the secret garden). The copy I eventually purchased had her illustrations as well:
I made the mistake of lending me copy many many long years back to a young lass so she could experience the magic. And then never got it back! I could only hope she couldn’t part with it because she loved it so. Then earlier this year at a Friends of the Library sale, I found an excellent pristine copy and swooped it up with glee.
Then came the day to revisit this old companion. Ye see I had not read this book since me copy was commandeered and I was looking forward to seeing if I loved it as much as me memory suggested. The answer is an astoundingly yes! Arrr!!
I still adore this book. The reading had the wonderful nostalgia of rediscovering details of the story as well as the perspective of seeing Sara’s journey through me eyes of an older jaded salty dog. I found Sara to be just as I remembered – compassionate, intelligent, and imaginative. I still loved the secondary characters of Becky and Ermengarde. I adored the lady who sold hot buns. The riches to rags story still appeals heartily. I loved Sara’s treatment of everyone in spite of her circumstances. She is polite, hardworking, and caring.
The part I found odd was the portrayal of the role of the adults in Sara’s life. So many people see Sara as a starving ragamuffin and yet don’t help her. Underclass poor children are depicted as savages as though it’s their own faults that they have no money or education. So many people outside of Ms. Minchin’s school see and comment on poor Sara’s state and yet she is not helped throughout most of the book except by a small compassionate child. Now granted there would be no story if the adults helped her. But it is odd that these children were left to rot. Of course the author had her own riches to rags story growing up so I can only assume that it influences this work.
But despite the larger thoughts of child poverty, I still felt the magic of Sara’s story and gobbled up this book. I only hope that I don’t wait so long for a re-read the next time.
Side note: I have fond memories of the 1996 movie though I haven’t seen it in forever. And the Broadway musical sucks.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Sara Crewe’s young but doting father sends her to a London boarding school when she is seven. On her eleventh birthday her life of luxury comes to an abrupt end when she receives news that her father has died, shortly after losing his entire fortune. The school-mistress turns Sara into a servant to pay off her debts, and though Sara uses the entire force of her imagination and her good heart to remember who she is and keep starvation from the door, her life is desperate. Until the past returns in a very unexpected manner…
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