Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Name of Book: A Little Princess

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

ISBN: 9780440447672

Publisher: Yearling

Type of book: Cinderella, children, 1800s, India, relationships, changes, servant, hunger, poverty, charity pupil, wealth

Year it was published: Originally 1888, (1905 version)

Summary:

Sara Crewe, an exceptionally intelligent and imaginative student at Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies, is devastated when her adored, indulgent father dies. Now penniless and banished to a room in the attic, Sara is demeaned, abused, and forced to work as a servant. How this resourceful girl's fortunes change again is at the center of A Little Princess, one of the best-loved stories in all of children's literature.

Characters:

The characters tend to change little, but they are human, at least Sara is because we see her sweet and dignified side as she struggles with changes and hunger that she constantly has to go under. Miss Minchin tends to be on a flat side and is simplistic, which is kind of a negative from the book. Other characters are lovable and supportive, but the book is not character driven but plot driven.

Theme:

Believe in magic and it will happen.

Plot:

There are a few characters from different points of views, but this is written from Sara's point of view about what's going on in her life. This is a fairytale, a Cinderella version of sorts, yet this Cinderella is all too human with frustration, anger, and so forth when the fortune disappears.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

born
in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, The United Kingdom November 24, 1849

died
October 29, 1924

gender
female

genre
Children's Books, Literature & Fiction

About this author

Frances Eliza Hodgson was the daughter of ironmonger Edwin Hodgson, who died three years after her birth, and his wife Eliza Boond. She was educated at The Select Seminary for Young Ladies and Gentleman until the age of fifteen, at which point the family ironmongery, then being run by her mother, failed, and the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. Here Hodgson began to write, in order to supplement the family income, assuming full responsibility for the family upon the death of her mother, in 1870. In 1872 she married Dr. Swan Burnett, with whom she had two sons, Lionel and Vivian. The marriage was dissolved in 1898, and Burnett was briefly remarried, to actor Stephen Townsend. That marriage too, ended in divorce. Following her great success as a novelist, playwright, and children's author, Burnett maintained homes in both England and America, traveling back and forth quite frequently. She died in her Long Island, New York home, in 1924.

Primarily remembered today for her trio of classic children's novels - Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911) - Burnett was also a popular adult novelist, in her own day, publishing romantic stories such as The Making of a Marchioness (1901) for older readers

Opinion:

I first got this book on November 13th, 1999, I was a teenager. I remember reading it earlier than that though. Although I don't read this book as often as others, I'm surprised that I enjoy it so much. The characters are much more realistic and one can identify with them. I liked that Sara had her bad points too, that she wasn't as perfect as Cedric in Little Lord Fauntleroy. It's an enchanting fairytale that mesmerizes its audience and doesn't let go of them. Somehow, I often had an urge to live in Sara's life, as odd as it sounds, although I'm kind of glad I have my own life. Still, this is perhaps a rare 1800s book that will get more than three stars from me.

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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