Friday, March 22, 2013

Tuck Everlasting: a review

By Natalie Babbitt
Natalie Babbitt on Goodreads
Farrar Straus Giroux; Copyright 1985
144 pages

A review in 10 words or less: Would you drink from a spring?  Life and consequences in Treegap.

Doomed to - or blessed with - eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Winnie Foster love her family but dreams of freedom, of the world beyond the gates of her home and away from the watchful eye of her parents.  One early morning, Winnie decides to explore the woods on her family's property and startles upon a beautiful young boy sipping water from a hidden spring at the base of a tree.  Jesse Tuck and his family kidnap Winnie and tell her a story unlike anything she's ever heard, a story of forever.

The Awesome
This wasn't my first encounter with Babbitt's children's classic.  Sometimes it's nice to revisit a great book from your past; it's kind of like going to see an old friend.  For such a short novel it really packs a punch.  By far the Tuck's make up the most awesome in the book.  Jesse is carefree and hopeful, Mae is calm and loving, Miles is a bit sad but friendly, and Tuck, oh papa Tuck, is the voice of time and wisdom.  This quiet, unassuming family could use their forever power to their own advantage, but they've chosen lives of solitude and kinship.

The Not So Awesome
The book lasts, like, two days.  That kind of frustrated me a bit.  Would Winnie really attach herself so fiercely after just one day?  That's where I think the movie gets it right.  The extra time and emotion really let you see Miles's pain at losing his family, Tuck's fear of being found out, and the close relationship between Winnie and Jesse.

Overall, a fantastic book.  Glad we forced our homeschoolers to read it.  There reviews were glowing as well (or at least as glowing as can come from shy homeschoolers).  If you haven't read this classic, do.  Or if it's been awhile, revisit Treegap with Winnie Foster and the Tucks for just a few moments and live the magic.

Favorite Quote: “Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.”

Similar Titles: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

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