An Everlasting Favorite: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

mfac booklist
Tuck Everlasting
By Natalie Babbit

Tuck Everlasting. I first read this in upper elementary when I was in a special "advanced" reading class where I got to spend the English hour on the beanbags in the corner and read my way through Newbery classics. I was the only one in this class. I loved it. Then we moved and my new class saw a movie-version of the same book. I didn't recall the title of the book (or the film had a different title?) so I spent the hour+ feeling an odd sense of déjà vu, wondering why I knew every plot point just before it was going to happen. Anyway, on to the book...

I’ve grown skeptical of prologues, but if it starts like Babbitt’s, I’m hooked. “The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.” Delicious. Metaphor and theme all at once.

I read this again in college, even wrote a paper on it. What I didn’t know enough to appreciate then was the amazing narrative voice and POV. The voice is lyrical, poetic, rich with metaphor and mystery. The POV is omniscient, or distant third (whatever—it flits inside heads to the outside world). Strikingly perfect for this timeless tale.

This is a fabulous one to look at for theme as well. “The August sun rolled up, hung at mid-heaven for a blinding hour, and at last wheeled westward before the journey was done” (46). This, the Ferris wheel image, they are repeated throughout to highlight the circle of life that is so disrupted by the Tucks (i.e., a Ferris wheel that’s stuck in motion).