The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

I just had to check out this book that has been hyped as the modern Secret Garden. That was my favorite book in 5th grade, thanks to my teacher Mrs. Haneke. I spent hours on the cover of my big Secret Garden project, illustrating the perfect robin (most likely based on an encyclopedia picture) and old-fashioned key. We had to read the story out loud with a partner and I sometimes read it in an English accent to show off or better express my love of the book- I’m not sure which it was exactly, a little of both I suppose. I wished to be in the story more than once. You can see why I would want to read The Humming Room.

Roo Fanshaw is the victim of a modern plague, drugs- a parallel to the original story where Mary Lennox’s parent’s fall victim to a plague of cholera.How fortunate that we are able to avoid so many plagues that were unavoidable before due to advanced medicine and research, and yet how unfortunate that there are so many children who are the unwilling victims of the plagues their parents at one point, at least, consciously chose.  When Roo’s parents are claimed by violence, Roo is sent to live with a reclusive Uncle who inhabits an island previously used to house a tuberculosis sanitorium for children. Creepy things happened there once upon a time… actually creepy things continue to happen. Roo finds an old chute that was used to dispose of expired patients and in her discovery, happens upon a hidden world, that helps to heal her soul and find a place in her new family.

I really enjoyed this modern re-telling of the secret garden. The original will always be my favorite, but I think many of the younger crowd will prefer this one. It would be fun to have a school unit comparing and contrasting the two stories.

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