Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt

Published (Australia) by Bloomsbury, 2003

Tuck Everlasting is a short book, easy to read, but it is such a beautiful, charming little tale that I kind of wish I could stay stuck in it forever.
The Tuck family are doomed to/blessed with eternal life after drinking from a magic spring. Ten year old Winnie Foster stumbles upon their secret and the Tucks kidnap her to try and make her see why the spring must stay secret and why living forever is not as much a blessing as it may seem. Meanwhile, a strange man in a yellow suit is determined to cause trouble for Winnie and the Tucks.
I’ve always known about this book, and I’ve seen the movie version, but it still did not prepare me for how amazing Tuck Everlasting is. I feel like it is near perfect, with its flawless prose, structure, style, and subtle themes largely centering around morality.
This is a book that makes you feel like you are there, with Winnie, in her front yard on those stifling hot days, or wandering around the cool woods, or in the homely, ramshackle little cottage of the Tucks. Babbitt’s prose is so delicious that I sometimes had to read passages over and over again because it just rolls off the page so effortlessly. There is a winsome humour and deft capturing of Winnie’s emotions and reaction to a discovery that would surely change her life.
Winnie is an adorable lead character and her interactions with the Tucks are skilfully done. Her awe of Jesse is never overwrought or too sentimental, and yet we get a great sense of the scope of it. For a short book, all the characters feel fleshed out and clearly motivated by their individual wants and needs.
Tuck Everlasting has won quite a few awards and received plenty of praise. Trust me, it is so very deserving. It is touching, superbly crafted and an utter delight.

"You can't have living without dying. So you can't call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road."

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