Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt: A-

From the back cover:
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could live forever? In this modern classic, author Natalie Babbitt explores the unforeseen complications that arise when the Tuck family unwittingly drinks from a spring of eternal life! Then ten-year-old Winnie Foster discovers them and their secret, as does a mysterious stranger. When the stranger threatens them all with his greed, Winnie Foster discovers much more—that friendship and love are what really count.

YA buff that I am, I have never before read Tuck Everlasting, which I have often seen hailed as one of the classics of the genre, nor seen any movie production of same, so I went into it completely unspoiled. For the first two-thirds of the book, it seemed merely a quaint, sort of homespun story with a little bit of a fantastic spin. Winnie is a really cute character, and the Tucks are nothing if not lovable. It was pleasant, and too short to be boring, but I was starting to wonder exactly what all of the fuss was about.

After a twist in the plot, it became more interesting, and even in the space of such a short time, Winnie’s character growth did not seem rushed. I really liked the conclusion to chapter 25, as well, and that ending alone would’ve raised my opinion of the book as a whole.

And then the epilogue.

I don’t know why it affected me so much, but I was all Sobby McSnifflypants about it. Finally the plight of the Tucks seemed to hit home at that point, I guess. Plus the one other thing that you’ll just have to read it yourself to discover.

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  1. Hate hate HATE this book.

    The reason why is spoilery, but I’m going to say it anyway. It pisses me off for the same reason that any magical girl manga that ends with the girl realizing she’d much rather be a lame junior high school student than stay where she’s got super powers, makes a difference in the world, and has a hot guy.

    The lesson Winnie seems to take away is it’s better to DIE than to live forever with the love of your life. WTF. Girls should always choose the average path! No non-conformity for you!

  2. I didn’t see it that way. I thought she realized that knowing Jesse for all of one day while she was 10 did not actually constitute real love. And you can’t really do the making a difference in the world deal, because then people will notice you, and you’ve gotta go for unobtrusive. A lot is made about how Miles wants to do something big, but he can’t, he’s so itinerate, all he does is carpentry and blacksmithing.

  3. You can do stuff and still be mysterious. The Tucks don’t handle their immortality very well.

    Highlander does it better. And just think what they could have done if they didn’t have to worry all the time about people coming along and trying to chop off their heads.

  4. Maybe they were just lazy.

    I’m not sure if I’d go for it, myself. It seems like it’d freak me out, unless I cloistered myself up somewhere and just read all the time. I’d definitely dose the kitties.

    Edited to remove horrible smiley icons. Must figure out how to turn that crap off.

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