« Whatever comes, cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside.
It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it. »
— Frances Hodgson Burnett (A Little Princess)
This book made me dream for days. It was everything a book should be: dramatic and passionate, a little sad and full of adventures. A story that finishes well, as the ones in fairy tales.
It was also the time when I was in « Les malheurs de Sophie » and all the other Contesse de Ségur books.
And to read in English was a big step too. My dad offered the book one summer, while vacationing in Maine, and was so proud to see I understood and asked questions when in doubt.
I was about 10 years old I guess. I too was a lonely child and I too went to a bording school, so I could relate in some ways.
Then, I saw the film with my grandfather, in Maine where he was raised and where we spent part of our summers. A Saturday afternoon representation. Although the film was made in the thirtys, I could relate to the marvelous Shirley Temple, I had seen most of her films anyways. So, after making my own images in my head, there was the story as seen through the eyes of the Director. I cried, but loved it as much as the book.
Children don’t know about her anymore. The Little Princess is a Barbie doll now or a Disney character. And their message is very different from the one above.