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


Cee Arr @ Dora Reads said...

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!

Molly said...

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 said...

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