Rereading Tuck Everlasting As An Adult (A Review)
Author: Natalie Babbitt
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Genres: Middle Grade, Children, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Classics
Source: Borrowed from the library
Buy on Amazon | Buy from Publisher
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 take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
FTC Disclaimer: I borrowed a copy of this book from my library. I was in no way compensated for this review.
Ignorance is Bliss…
I think the charm of Tuck Everlasting comes from not knowing about the plot before you read it. And when the synopsis tells you all about it, it kind of ruins the whole thing for you. Especially if you’re reading it for the first time as an adult. (So don’t read that synopsis above if you’re interested in reading the book!)
I read Tuck Everlasting as a kid, for school, and I read it not knowing what it was about. It blew me away! I thought it was such a cool concept. But I reread it again late last year for my book club. We read a variety of Young Adult books and our theme for December was YA Classics. Tuck Everlasting was suggested, and became one of our December picks, even though it’s not quite YA. It’s definitely more Middle Grade, maybe even Children’s. But it’s a classic, and many of us in the book club loved it as kids, so we decided to pick it. But some book club members were reading it for the first time, and found themselves disappointed by the lack of events in the book. And they’re perfectly right in thinking that way: there really isn’t much going on in this book.
A Fun Reread…
I enjoyed rereading Tuck Everlasting, although it was bittersweet because I read it just after Natalie Babbitt passed. The only part that bothered me was that the villain in the story was a two-dimensional caricature of a villain. It wasn’t subtle in any way that this guy was a villain, and I found that the way he was handled seemed to be talking down to the readers. Yes, this is aimed at a young audience but I think even my 7 year old would understand that this guy was up to no good, even if it hadn’t been so glaringly obvious. I just felt like his character could have been given a bit more nuance.
In fact, the character that most of us in my book club seemed to enjoy was Miles Tuck, Jesse’s older brother (AKA the character you totally forgot about if you read the book/saw the movie years ago). He seemed like the most thought out, complex character. He was also the one who had lost the most in his lifetime. I think he was definitely the most interesting character in the book.
Overall, I enjoyed my reread of Tuck Everlasting. I noticed some things this time around that I hadn’t as a kid, but I think it will always hold a fond place in my heart. And I definitely think it’s a great read for kids. I know I’ll be handing it to my sons when they’re a bit older.