Selma Blair's life was changed by a children's book.

The 36-year-old actress related to the main character of Frances Hodgson Burnett's 'The Secret Garden' - which her mother gave her a copy of before she started college - and claims the novel helped her learn not to be so unhappy with life.

She said: "This book changed me the most, for the best. I was kind of a depressed teenager. My mother would introduce my sisters and say, 'Ok, this is the athlete, this is the overachiever, and then this is Selma, the manic depressive.'

"It's strange that such a childish book had such an effect on me, but it did. I felt so like sour Mary, and the book transformed me the way the garden transformed her - teaching her not to let sad, bad thoughts stay in her head."

The 'Hellboy II' star loves being given new books to read and carries the copy of J.D. Salinger's 'Nine Stories' given to her by Jake Gyllenhaal everywhere.

Speaking about the book, she told Britain's Elle magazine: "Jake Gyllenhaal gave it to me many years ago because it's one his favourites, and in exchange I gave him a copy of 'Till We Have Faces'.

"I got this book maybe nine years ago, but I still carry it in whatever bag I have. It reminds me of the Friendship I once had with Jake and these amazing stories by this author that I love."