Cozy Tragedy – a review of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden is my favourite classic literature book of all time. It was time I tried some of Hodgson Burnett’s other books, and this was the next most popular of her works.

Sarah Crewe is sent to live at Miss Minchin’s School for Girls while her father pursues further riches in India. She is quick to capture the hearts of her fellow students with her kind heart, charity and mantra of mantra of behaving like a princess. But when her father dies and her fortune in indebted to Miss Minchin’s frugal spending, Sarah if forced to put aside her studies and work to survive. But with all the misfortune that keeps getting thrown her way, does her kind heart remain untouched?

Sarah’s arc of impacting others was the most beautiful I have ever seen. These kinds of flat arcs are among my favourites, in which the most wholesome character in the book is the main character and teachers their mantra to everyone they know. Sarah must have been the character to start this trend, to teach her fellows to be charitable by example and show great kindness. What makes this better is how the events in this book make her struggle with her own beliefs and how she still has to fight back. In her mind and perspective we do not see this as being easy. It was incredibly written.

I don’t know how, but Hodgson Burnett was able to make such wholesome moments out of such tragedies. My emotions back AND front flipped from every event that happened within this book as sad moments got turned so happy, beautiful and wholesome. Cozy, I think, is the best way to describe this altogether. The sensation of being in an old home and wrapping yourself up in a blanket while sitting next to the fireplace.

For a book with the primary audience being children, I liked how mature elements of this tale were. For reference, I once watched a dumbed-down animated movie of this story and expect the plot to be identical. It was nothing like that movie. That movie was so dumbed down and edited that the two bare little resemblance to each other. The pitfalls in this book felt very real, from bankruptcy to bullying. The emotions felt so raw every time.

A little side note to finish off. This is the second book I have read by the same author following an English girl being raised in India and then returning to England and experiencing some levels of culture shock. Strange coincidence.

A Little Princess gets a score of 4.5/5. Misfortune never felt so cozy.

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