Mini Classic Review: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Alone in a new country, wealthy Sara Crewe tries to settle in and make friends at boarding school. But when she learns that she’ll never see her beloved father again, her life is turned upside down. Transformed from princess to pauper, she must swap dancing lessons and luxury for hard work and a room in the attic. Will she find that kindness and generosity are all the riches she truly needs?

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“I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses.” 

A Little Princess is a charming classic children’s novel about a young rich girl who loses her fortune overnight and transforms from a princess to a pauper and is treated horrifically by the adults in her life and other children.

I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. It’s not perfect but it is, ultimately, sweet and heartwarming. There are definitely some issues that irked me, which I will touch on. Sara is incredibly intelligent and saintly and perfect … and she’s also 7. I just felt like I had to suspend my disbelief FAR too much to completely believe that a 7 year old was so wise and motherly. Not that I disliked Sara — I actually found her inner strength to be quite comforting and inspiring.

However, it’s very uncomfortable that every Indian character in the novel reveres Sara, and she lauds over them like a benevolent princess. Very uncomfortable. I don’t feel that the representation of Indian people is particularly positive.

Hodgson’s writing was very accessible and made it quite an easy novel to read. That’s to be expected as it’s a children’s novel, but I do believe that adults can equally enjoy the book.

I enjoyed reading this book and I’m very keen on reading The Secret Garden as well!

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