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"perhaps one day / we will meet again / as characters in / a different story, / maybe we'll share / a lifetime then." ~pavana

An Everlasting Review

January 19, 2021

8 letters in I love you and 2 words in I do. But what about a 1 word, 7 letter concept that can mean everything and absolutely nothing simultaneously? Simple: foreverForever is a breathtaking word, but there's no better book to take you on the journey of discovering it, then Natalie Babbitt's novel, Tuck Everlasting.

One day at that time, not so very long ago, three things happened and at first there appeared to be no connection between them (Babbitt 3; ch 1).

Never has an author wrote so softly, about something so powerful, one feels as if they'll miss the underlying meaning. Fortunately, Babbitt presents the theme within the ending, therefore, if you were too distracted by the book's heartwarming characters, simplistic yet timeless diction, or appealing setting, Natalie Babbitt will never let you forget her unyielding theme: the beauty and balance of life.

The August sun rolled up, hung at mid-heaven for a blinding hour, and at last wheeled westward before the journey was done (Babbitt pg 46; ch 9).

In 139 pages, Natalie Babbit crafts the world of Winnie, the Man in the Yellow Suit, and the Tucks. In Tuck Everlasting, Winnie goes through a journey of self-discovery with the help of the unconventional Tuck family. All while the author sets up the gentle feeling of impending disaster, regarding the Man in the Yellow Suit. Although, every detail stems from one concept: the Tuck family's immortality. The question Natalie Babbit draws isn't how they became immortal, no, she answers that early within the story. Instead, she questions the capability. Best asked in the brilliant novel's summary, is eternal life a blessing or a curse? 

Everythings a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping (Babbitt 62; ch 12).

And that question reader is for you alone to conclude when the novel draws to an end. Through exquisite figurative language and imagery, Natalie Babbit portrays the beauty of the world through the setting and characters. From each of the Tuck's distinguishing characteristics to the nature run cabin they call home, Natalie Babbit reminds the reader to observe and cherish the world around them. Furthermore, the Tuck's immortality allows them to see the full cycle of life. Through the character Angus Tuck, the father figure, he expands Winnie's perception of nature and the beauty of the circle of life. Even so, he describes the balance, how every ending is the start of something.

You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest (Babbitt 63; ch 12)

Yes, Angus Tuck. He is not the main character, but he's an instrumental character and my heart wouldn't love this novel as it does without him. Angus Tuck is more than the Tuck family's father figure, he's Winnie's, he's the reader's, he's mine. When I was younger, I craved a sense of wanting to know the nature of things and wondering why eternity couldn't be for everybody. Then I read Natalie Babbit's novel, she exposed me to the power of Angus Tuck. However, the significance of his character is not founded based on his complexity. Instead, it's based on his simplicity. At the start of the novel, you desire to dislike him for his hatred of immortality, until his walls come down. Angus Tuck meets Winnie and remembers the beauty of everything, of the world, of balance. Even more so, he explains these concepts to her. He becomes more of a Father to her in a couple of days than the one back at her house.

Closing the gate on her oldest fears as she closed the gate of her own fenced yard, she discovered the wings she always wished she had (Babbitt 45; ch 9).

On the other hand, Angus Tuck's character only works because of Winifred Foster, or Winnie for short. Winnie is the protagonist who starts off with immense curiosity, reminding the reader of their own when they were younger. In only one chapter, Natalie Babbit sets up Winnie's character, where the reader is exposed to her predictive yet unyielding life, curious heart, and cautious mind. Every day, Winnie tells herself she'll run away, due to her desire and craving to know the unknown. But at last, every day Winnie goes inside and lives the life her parents' plan. Until one day, when everything changes and the reader watches Winnie experience maturity. And how wonderful it looks on her. Yet, it never would've occurred if it wasn't for the Tucks.

Winnie saw again the wide world spread before her, shimmering with light and possibility (Babbitt 105; ch 21).

So when it comes to Tuck Everlasting, there's simply one last question to ask: who's the audience? Here's the irony readers: you areHumanity thrives because of the world it lives in, unfortunately, that doesn't mean all cherish it. Nonetheless, through reading Tuck Everlasting, we can grow to learn to. Personally, I read the book when I was younger, on the brink of self-discovery but still feared diving in too deep. Moreover, reading the book at the stage of adolescence allows for the understandings of powerful topics in a solemn and open-minded way. Nevertheless, any age can enjoy the novel's timeless beauty. With a select amount of characters all of a variety of ages and personalities, Tuck Everlasting will teach you the beauty of nature, the art of maturity, and finally, the balance of life. However, it is too note, there's a heartbreak you'll slightly be expecting, but will touch you gently nevertheless. So pick up the book, when you're reading for the soft and beautiful, new kind of unbecoming.

To end, if there was one book I recommend to people, it would be this masterpiece. Tuck Everlasting is a constant in my life, it's a novel I take with me everywhere and refuse to part with. Certain stories stay with people forever, this one's mine.
Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting. Square Fish, 2007.


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1 Comment
  • Wisp

    "So pick up the book, when you're reading for the soft and beautiful, new kind of unbecoming."
    I've read this review before, but reading it again, man do I feel sucker-punched. You pack so much emotion in this review that it's unbelievable that it's a book review. I've never read a review that packs so much heart and feeling and love for a book, one that draws the reader in and makes them have a burning passion to buy a copy for themselves. The way you describe this book makes my heart ache and it makes me think of a worn-out book with yellowed pages and a book spine opened so many times its become loose and falling apart: a book that has been loved and read so many times over and over again. The passion and compassion you show for Tuck Everlasting is beautiful and I can't help but smile at the tone of voice you have here, one of pride and nostalgia, but most of all tenderness.

    11 months ago