Review: A Little Princess

Review: A Little PrincessA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Published by Sterling on October 1, 2004
Genres: Historical
Pages: 208
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

As the popularity of the recent Lemony Snicket books proves, children never get tired of reading about orphans and their misfortunes. So Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1905 story about a pampered little rich girl who suddenly finds herself poor and fatherless should continue to entice generations of fans.

I am assuming that a good number of people will have grown up with this story, like I did. I actually have never read this book before (maybe…I might have read it when I was quite young, but this is a true statement so far as I recall). I usually post a picture of the cover of the edition I read, but I was really tempted not to here. Check out the ridiculously terrifying cover on my library copy!

Sara Crewe is a child gifted with a remarkable imagination, intelligence and a doting father. When her father dies, her intelligence is useful certainly, but it is her imagination that really pulls her through the tough times. She wonders in the beginning of the book whether she is actually nice or not, because she has never experienced a hardship. I really loved that when hardship came, she struggled to maintain her princess demeanor. She got angry and wanted to respond spitefully to ill treatment, but made the conscious decision to rise above. This makes Sara feel like a real girl, not like some absurd Pollyanna.

I am always happy to find another book lover, and such is Sara Crewe. One of the most trying moments of the book for her in her battle to keep her temper is when her reading is interrupted: “Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book. People who are fond of books know the feeling of irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment.” Delightful.

There was one element of the story that is a bit…odd…from a modern perspective. That is that the Indian servant, Ram Dass, watches Sara while she is inside and even comes into the room while she is sleeping. His intentions are entirely noble and he is doing good. Still…it’s hard not to be at least a wee bit creeped out by that these days.

Although a children’s book, this classic loses nothing when read by an older audience. I highly recommend this to anyone who believes in magic! Also, if you haven’t seen it, definitely check out the 1995 film version, because it manages to capture the magic of the book and even improve upon the story (in my opinion)!

2 responses to “Review: A Little Princess”

  1. Amy S. says:

    I love this book so much! I didn’t read it until I was in high school actually, but I have read it many times since then. I love the part where she gives her bread to the starving girl outside the bakery. I actually cry when I read this book, and I hardly ever cry when reading. Also, you are correct, this cover is hilariously creepy!!! I flinched when I first clicked on your post. Luckily my copy has a nice plain green cover. No picture needed, thank you very much.

  2. rachchan2006 says:

    I absolutely adored this book; Sara is such a noble, strong, unique character and so dignified for somebody so young. It was an emotional read and I adored the ending.

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