Title: Tuck Everlasting
Author: Natalie Babbit
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Fiction/Fantasy
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 kidnap her and explain why living forever at one age is less than a blessing that it might seem. (Goodreads 2014)
If you could live forever, if you had the chance to stop aging and look exactly as you do, right now, forever….would you? That is the question asked of readers throughout this book.
This story follows a young girl named Winnifred, or Winnie, who one day stumbles across the Tuck family. Winnie discovers the Tucks have wound up living eternally after drinking water from a magical spring, and they kidnap her to try and convince her to keep their secret, to prevent others from doing all sorts of horrific things to secure eternal life- after all, what is mankind more afraid of than Death? As she spends more and more time with them, she begins to wonder if eternal life would really be such a bad thing.
At only around 140 pages, this book is a very quick read, but my god, it is a wonderful book. Babbit is a brilliant world builder and despite the seeming simplicity of the book, it challenges its readers of all ages to contemplate the debate of whether eternal life would really be such a good thing. It also is a nice way of making the large and scary idea of death seem not that scary actually, to the younger audiences.
I was introduced to this book through seeing the 2002 movie when I was around 15, so I was definitely older than most readers who are made to read this book in primary school as part of their school syllabus. But I picked up the book, and I absolutely loved it. Normally you can say “I prefer the book” or “I prefer the movie”, but I honestly can’t say either way on this story, which is a rarity.
There are some differences between the film and the book, for example, in the film, Winnie is older- a teenager and there is a romance storyline whereas in the book, Winnie is a child. As I said, the world-building in this book is lovely. I enjoy re-reading this book every August because it has left that much of an impression on me. The opening paragraph has become comforting to me. The characters are solid and stay with you, and if you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it as well, if only because the musical score is absolutely stunning.
I just highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys thought provoking books. That’s all I can say, it is wonderful.
“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”