Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuck Everlasting

Tuck Everlasting. Natalie Babbitt. 1975. FSG. 139 pages. [Source: Library]

First, I do want to say that I am glad I finally read this one. It's not like I've never heard of it before. I've just been slow to getting around to it. And there is something to be said for finally reading a book almost every other reader has read--either because it was their choice or an assignment.

I have to say that the book jacket gave everything away leaving absolutely no mystery whatsoever. Well, that's only partly true. I wasn't aware that this one was set in the 1880s.

The book has a simple premise: Winnie Foster, the 10-year-old-heroine, has a choice to make when she accidentally discovers a spring in the wood that "blesses" or "curses" anyone who drinks from it with immortality. I am purposefully choosing to call it immortality instead of eternal life. To clarify, on her own Winnie would never have come to the conclusion that there was anything special about the woods or the spring water. It is because she meets a boy, Jesse, in the woods drinking from it that leads to her HAVING to make a choice. Is it a choice she actually struggles with--especially after meeting the Tuck family and talking with each of them? I'm not sure it is. Though she likes the family well enough.

Is it a love story? I'm going to say NO. I don't think it is remotely a love story. Jesse, the boy Winnie meets, is 17. He is forever-stuck at the age of 17. And I can completely see why he finds it frustrating and lonely. The only people 'stuck' with him are his parents and his brother. As much as he loves them, I can see why he wants a little bit more from life. How his life might have been made a little bit better perhaps if he could have convinced someone--any girl really--to drink from the fountain of youth. But I'm not convinced that he really "felt" anything for Winnie. He wanted a companion, a soul mate, perhaps. But Winnie was the first person...ever...to stumble across the woods and the spring. She was the wrong age for him. But time could change that...eventually. So this accidental meeting in the wood might work out for him....or not. But a love story it decidedly is not. And even if Jessie liked Winnie--her personality, her character--I'm not sure it would be love to wish that kind of abnormal existence on her.

I also wish I could have read Tuck Everlasting without thinking about Twilight and comparing/contrasting Jesse with Edward. For the record, if I had to choose between them which book to reread again--or again and again, I'd probably go for Tuck Everlasting.

I liked this one. I didn't dislike it. The story was interesting enough. And it was a decidedly quick read!!!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

Cee Arr 5:52 AM  

I've wanted to read this for quite a while, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I love the film - although I didn't realise that Winnie is so young in the book!

My Cozy Book Nook 7:02 AM  

I used to teach this book, which meant I re-read it every year. And... I still LOVE it.

I completely agree with you - this is not a love story!

And while I never thought about it before, I can understand the comparison of Jesse to Edward Cullen...

Kailana 5:09 PM  

I have never read this but was thinking of it just recently. I must get to it soon.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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I am not a fan of:

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  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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