Natalie Babbitt, the author of Tuck Everlasting, sweeps readers along on the thought-stirring journey of Winnie Foster when she meets the eternally unaging Tuck family.
The well-crafted characters included eleven-year-old Winnie Foster, a young girl who yearns to escape the confines of her yard and to be free of proper, beautiful clothing--and finally gets her wish. The Tuck family includes Mae Tuck, the caring, mentally old mother of the family, Angus Tuck, the weary father who wishes the Tucks could someday age and die to allow them back into the “wheel of life”, Miles, the oldest of two brothers whose wife left him under the belief he had sold his soul to the devil to say young, and Jesse, the eternally seventeen-year-old boy. There is also the eternally living horse, the yellow-suited man, and the somewhat dim constable.
The book is set in the fictional town of Treegap, where there is a wood. In the middle of the wood, there is a pleasant touch-me-not cabin, in which the young Winnie foster lives with her parents and grandmother. The young girl escapes into the wood one day, and finds a spring, as which a boy, Jesse, is resting.
When she sees the boy, she asks to drink from the spring, being dreadfully thirsty, but Jesse panically tries to stop her, and eventually Mae and Miles arrive, halting Winnie from drinking the water which would bless--or curse--her with eternal life. What follows is a story that can change how readers think forever.
Personally, I admire Natalie's writing style and admire her ability to tell the story of the Tucks so creatively. She made me think a lot about what it might be like to live forever--is it really a good thing to never grow old? She also makes it easy to envision the wood and treegap in my mind’s eye; the amber and emerald light filtering through green leaves to the forest floor, the eternal ash tree, the animals, and the way she explains how things connect together.
Samples of her writing style:
“His tall body moved continuously; a foot tapped, a shoulder twitched. And it moved in angles, rather jerkily. But at the same time he had a kind of grace, like a well-handled marionette. Indeed, he seemed almost to hang suspended there in the twilight. But Winnie, though she was half charmed, was suddenly reminded of the stiff black ribbons they had hung on the door of the cottage for her grandfather's funeral.”
“Into it all came Winnie, eyes wide, and very much amazed. It was a whole new idea to her that people could live in such disarray, but at the same time she was charmed. It was… comfortable. Climbing behind Mae up the stairs to see the loft, she thought to herself: ‘Maybe it's because they think they have forever to clean it up.’ And this was followed by another thought, far more revolutionary: ‘Maybe they just don't care!’”
“There was a clearing directly in front of her, at the center of which an enormous tree thrust up, its thick roots rumpling the ground ten feet around in every direction. Sitting relaxed with his back against the trunk was a boy, almost a man. And he seemed so glorious to Winnie that she lost her heart at once.”
“She rocked, gazing out at the twilight, and the soothing feeling came reliably into her bones. That feeling—it tied her to them, to her mother, her father, her grandmother, with strong threads too ancient and precious to be broken. But there were new threads now, tugging and insistent, which tied her just as firmly to the Tucks.”
This book, despite being slightly short, really makes you think, and I love it--I plan on re-reading it until my eyes burn out. It makes the reader think and consider what it would be like to live forever, and it really makes you second-guess your first thoughts of immortality. It’s most certainly a must-read for anyone!