Tuck Everlasting is yet another one of those childhood classics that I failed to read as a child, nor did I watch the movie. Still, I'd heard enough general discussions about the book to have a high level feel for what to expect.
Diving right into the story, I was quickly sucked in by the simple and yet vivid language used to describe the world and the actions. The writing is definitely aimed towards younger readers and the voice and tone of the novel are certainly tailored specifically for kids. However, the text doesn't 'talk down' to young readers. Nor does it explicitly try to preach or admonish the youthful audience.
Instead, we engage with the story through the eyes, voice and attitudes of a pre-teen girl, Winnie Foster. She has a fresh and innocent outlook on the world but at the same time she's a little jaded about her own existence, living almost as a prisoner, locked within her own home and forbidden to go outside the gate (except for school, church, etc). She has no friends to speak of and expresses frustration at the attitudes of her family.
I love the way the story opens up with a prologue explaining that we are about to see three seemingly unrelated events which will change the course of life for the individuals involved. It's an odd opening that is both exciting and foreboding at the same time. As those three events unfold, I especially love the thoughts racing through Winnie's mind as she's excited, then scared, then happy, then anxious, and so on.
The story is very simple and is a very quick read. And yet, it's a book with great staying power as a classic and one that kids and adults keep coming back to. The writing and the story in themselves are enjoyable but I think what really makes this book maintain its popularity and appeal are the conversations it opens with the reader.
It poses questions about love, family, freedom, choices and the nature of mortality. It leaves you thinking about the nature of life and the idea of a "life well lived."
I'm glad I finally got around to reading this book. It's an uplifting and light hearted book with added depth in the profound questions and messages it presents. If, like me, you skipped over this book, you should go back and give it a try.
4 out of 5 stars
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