Review: Tuck Everlasting
Title: Tuck Everlasting
Author: Natalie Babbitt
Format: Audiobook, Overdrive
Published: 1 November 1985
Hours/Pages: 3 hours, 32 minutes / 139 pages
Themes: death, choices, family, mortality
Memorable 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.”
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Synopsis: Winnie Foster is a young girl who longs to see the world outside her fenced yard. One August day, she accidentally discovers the Tuck family – and their secret. The Tucks have not aged in over 80 years because they drank from a spring in the Foster’s wood. Winnie is memorized by the Tucks, and sees their immortality as a gift, but the Tucks want her to understand that living forever is not as enjoyable as it seems. Winnie isn’t the only person who knows about the Tuck family, however, and someone much more sinister has plans for Winnie and the Tuck family.
I remember reading this book in fourth grade. We got to read it, listen to it, and then watch the movie, and every part of the story stuck with me. I was amazed and heart-broken. My little fourth-grade self felt so many conflicting feelings by the end of the story, but I do know it was one of the few required books in school that I really enjoyed and appreciated – even as a child. I still think it is a book that should be taught in schools today.
Before Twilight romanticized never aging at 17, Tuck Everlasting dared readers to debate whether it was a blessing or a curse. Think about how old you are right now. Would you want to stay that age forever? I don’t think I would ever want immortality, but I definitely would not want it if I was stuck as a 17 year old.
I mean, do you mature at all? Or are you stuck in the mindset of someone who is 17….forever?
Winnie sees a cute boy, Jesse Tuck, but she quickly finds herself in over her head when she discovers that he has been 17 for over 80 years, while she has been 10 or 11 for….well…10 or 11 years. (Also, yes, I have always thought the thing between her and Jesse was downright creepy and weird. Not a fan).
Anyway, Jesse wants her to wait until she’s 17, then drink the spring water, and live with him forever. His father, however, does not want her to drink the spring water. Tuck wants Winnie to live her life fully, not be stuck one age until the world ends.
I think it’s interesting that Winnie is so young and dragged into all this, especially making such a difficult choice. However, I really liked how observant she was to everything about the Tucks. For example, she notices how messy their home is and thinks about how neat her family’s home is. It makes her wonder if having etnerity to live also means having an eternity to clean.
Overall, I think this book, though simple and quick, really breaks down the pros and cons of immortality in a way that makes sense to young readers. I remember reading this book as a child and suddenly feeling more concious of my own mortality. Tuck Everlasting really was the first book to make me realize that, yeah, I could die at any age whether or not I wanted to.
Winnie must confront her own mortality too, which was difficult to listen to, especially as a grown up, because death is scary. She faces a loss of childhood innocence by having to confront the inevitability of her own death.
Winnie was a pretty easy to relate to as a character. She wants more than her tiny backyard, and is curious of everything around her. Even as an adult, I still felt like I could relate to her wants and fears in some ways.
I enjoyed this book just as much, if not more than when I was a child because the meaning felt much deeper this time.
I think I’ll enjoy watching the movie next. 🙂
Have you read Tuck Everlasting ? What did you think? Let me know!