Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

January 30, 2015 2015, classics, discussion post, giveaway, Kim, readalong 46

readalong tuck everlasting

Welcome to The Midnight Garden discussion of Tuck Everlasting, which is posted to coincide with the 40th Anniversary Blog Tour.

This book has been a special favorite of mine since one of my best friends pressed it into my hands in 5th grade. At the tender age of 10 fiction suddenly posed me with the question: “What if you could live forever?” There is such  a unique relationship with stories you loved specifically as a child. I’m so glad I read this at the age of 11 when the magic of the book couldn’t escape me. But we certainly hope to hear all of manner of opinions about this book!

We’re also so excited to be giving away a beautiful hardcover of the special anniversary edition, which includes a foreward by Gregory Maguire. Did you know that this book has never been out of print in all that time? Let’s discuss why this story has such lasting appeal.

vine-divider-finalTuck Everlasting blog tour

 

Kim: I remember so clearly my best friend pressing this one into my hands in 5th grade and promising me I would love it. And she was right! I’ve always loved paranormal elements. Immortal/human relationships, and their dilemmas, were forever a favorite-even as a kid! I hadn’t re-read this since middle school age, but I remember it being one of the first stories that ever truly hurt my heart.

Wendy: I loved this as a kid, but it’s been years since I read it! I remembered the basic plot, but that was it.

Layla: Definitely not my first time reading Tuck Everlasting. Can I say that the book felt much, much scarier to me now than it did when I was a kid?

Wendy: Definitely more frightening to read as an adult. Kidnapping and aggravated assault, and aiding and abetting a murderer, hah. But even more than that, the sensation of being the verge of discovering all the secrets of the universe, somehow. I love books like this that take small moments in time but make them feel so huge. Winnie’s world is so small until she meets the Tucks, and then she has to think about things she’s never considered before

Layla: Yep, all of those parts. That scene where she’s spending the night at the Tucks! Terrifying. As a child, I felt that this was a marvelous adventure (you get picked up in the woods and make friends, HOW GREAT) but as an adult, this sounds like the worst.

Kim: Yes, I was so surprised at the heavy/dark elements. I can mostly only recall having moon eyes for Winnie and Jesse. It’s funny how my young mind just zoomed right in on what was interesting to me (doomed love-oh no!). I hadn’t realized that it only takes place over the span of a few days either. The story felt so large to me as a kid. And to be fair it does encompass rather large themes.

Wendy: I didn’t remember that this all happened so quickly. Life changed for Winnie in just a handful of days.

Layla: Same. I thought she was there longer, and that also Mrs. Tuck’s rescue was more drawn out? But I think part of it is just that her world shifts so completely (she finds a new family, Jesse pays attention to her – she goes from watching the world develop around her to being involved in an actual adventure).

Kim: I think we can all agree that Winnie handles her world shifting so rapidly around much better than any of of us would!

Wendy: This book creates such a beautiful sense of “place of out time.” I especially like that it’s set during the summer, because when you’re a child, those long, lazy months feel so timeless, and so many of your best memories and most important discoveries happen when you’re in your own backyard.

Kim: I always loved that beautiful opening line about the Ferris wheel. It puts you right into that sense of stillness that the hottest days of the year bring. When a book can immediately transport the reader into the mood and setting it’s a magical experience.

Wendy: Yes! I’d forgotten how beautiful the prose is. What do you think of the vagueness of details in regards to the man in the yellow suit, what the Tucks are up to in the time they’re gone, what happens to Winnie, etc? I’m wondering how adults new to this book will react to this, but I very much like the choices the author made overall. They contribute to the fable-like feel of the story. Not that I don’t pine for a tiny bit more detail as to what happens to them all, of course! But I that it’s often the books that leave you yearning that have the most impact.

Kim: I like the vagueness. I think it captures Winnie’s uncertainty/confusion in a way that helps put the reader in her shoes. There’s also a fear in the unknown and I think it can leave readers to imagine the worst; to paint in the details of this sinister person.

I also feel like there’s a sense of dread in not knowing what Tucks have been up to. Because you know what I imagine they’ve been up to? Much of the same. And that’s horrifying. It would be awful to be stuck in immortality when you don’t want it. And depending which time you were frozen at there would also be varying degrees of awfulness. It wouldn’t be great to be stuck at 17. It would not be even a little bit favorable to live eternally as an older person with the all the aches and pains and difficulties. This could very easily be twisted into a horror story!

Wendy: Hah, that would be hilarious. It sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch, if SNL ever did anything kidlit-based.

Layla:  I would also like some more details on this front. (What have they been doing? Much of the same, sure, but the world has been changing around them like a mofo! Industrial revolution! Suffragettes! Scopes Monkey Trial! the Jazz Age! Civil Rights Movement! I want to see the Tucks watch all of these things. I like the choices the author made – and maybe there’s a sense that when you live forever, you stop being interested in things because everything passes with time – but I can’t help but be curious.)

Wendy: It’s true, those are some fascinating times in history. I wondered what the Tucks had been up to as well, but I think I’m okay with knowing. Because Winnie doesn’t really know, and we only see what she and the townfolk occasionally see of them over all those years. I am curious why it took them so long to come back, though. Wouldn’t Jesse have wanted to come back sooner? The book alluded to his having guessed that she didn’t drink the water, but it was AGES before they got back.

Layla: As you know, I am curious about how technology (among other things) changes their lives. Is it easier to get lost in the world? Do they reunite more frequently? How does this matter? And yes, you’d think they would have wanted to check on Winnie sooner – what if she’s done it and she’s been seventeen for YEARS and didn’t know how to find them? Man, I’d be pissed.

tuck everlasting

Layla: How long did it take you guys to figure out when the book was set? I had totally forgotten this, btw, and was like, wait a minute, this isn’t like the 1960s, or whenever I assumed it was set. (How did I forget this? Who knows!) But in some ways, I think that response is the result of some of the things you’re pointing out, Wendy – the fable-like feel of the story (although we are told where / when Winnie is).

Kim: I feel like I always knew it took place in the late 19th century? It’s very likely my friend explained this to me after I pestered her with my questions. :p

Wendy: The moment when she pours the little bottle of water on the toad’s head, I was all Nooooooo, what are you doing? At least wait until you’re older to decide this!

Kim: It’s a wrenching moment but I loved it for showing Winnie’s innate kindness and heart. She cared so much about that toad! It’s very touching. Plus, she figured she could always go back to the spring when the time came.

Wendy: I also love that the Tucks see the toad at the end when they come back to Treegap, never realizing it was the one she bestowed that gift on.

Kim: I’m glad I didn’t realize as a child how creepy it was that this whole story took place over a few days and that it’s preposterous to ask anyone to spend eternity with you after so short a time. I’m glad I could just enjoy the magic

Wendy: Yes, I think you’d have to be more careful with that if this book were written now. It wasn’t meant to be that she’d join them, but young Wendy’s heart and my (mostly) grown-up heart still wished for the happy ending. I mean, obviously she got her happy ending, but poor Jesse does not.

Have you guys seen the 2002 movie adaptation, by the way? I’ve only seen it once but I really liked it, it stars Rory Gilmore! I want to see it again after this. She’s aged up to match Jesse’s age in the film, which is understandable. And agreeable.

Kim: I loved the movie! I only saw it the once when it came out (I was in high school). But I surely did appreciate the aging up of Winnie into a proper love story. My heart definitely gave a ghost pang of hurt at the ending.

Layla: Yes, age Winnie and my feelings of discomfort are lessened. Which means this is definitely worth a watch for me! I never saw it.

Kim: Which character is your favorite? I love Tuck for his kindness and concern. Let’s be honest. I’ll have a soft spot for anyone with a Matthew Cuthbert vibe. And I love Winnie for her curiosity, her openness, bravery, and heart. As a kid I was just all about the “love story,” of course.

Wendy: He does have a Matthew Cuthbert vibe! I love everyone in it, except for the man in the yellow suit, obviously. Though as child I certainly thought Jesse was a dashing figure, I think I read this at the age when I was just beginning to have good friends who were boys, so that was intriguing to me. Adventures with boys are very different from adventures with girls, even if you’re doing the exact same activity.

Layla: Mrs. Tuck and her music box! I kind of wanted to ask again about the love story. Obvs, as a child, I made googly eyes at the text and thought that Winnie + Jesse was super romantic. (He meets her and then wants to be with her for-ev-er, which is the kind of healthy relationship I admired as a child.) However, as an adult, I was super weirded out by their relationship (such as it is). Winnie is what, ten? Jesse is seventeen but has also been living for like a hundred years and thus is way older than seventeen. I mean, is it just that she’s the first person they’ve been able to trust with their secret and he doesn’t want to be alone forever? Or is it like … real feelings? I don’t know that I’m happy with it in any case. I was a little creeped out by the “hey, a ten year-old girl! future bride?”

Wendy: I had a moment of pause when he said that, because the gap between 10 and 17 is so very large. But at least he was somewhat respectful in considering her feelings a bit? Obviously not enough, given that he’s actually like 100 years old and he’s dealing with a child. This felt so much like a fairy story/fantasy that when I read it as a child that didn’t faze me–it seemed terribly romantic that this boy would declare he would come back for her and all that. But certainly I would be more comfortable with it if Winnie was older. Say…sixteen. At least fifteen. I would expect that a book that is written now to take that into account.

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If you could live forever what would you do?

Wendy: If I could live forever, I would:

— read all the books
— travel the world and immerse myself in other ways of living
— volunteer more
— do all the things I am too cautious to do as a puny mortal now. (I’m assuming I also get the Tucks’ regenerative powers.)

Kim: If I could live forever, I would:

— only accept if a beautiful vampire lover had appeared to sweep me away
— become a paleontologist (I am the kind of vampire that can live in sunlight,okay?)
— ultimately use the immortality for all the good I could possible fulfill. I can’t help it. I’m a Hufflepuff.

Layla: If I could live forever, I would:

— panic like a mofo, but then:
— read all of the books
— learn all of the languages I want to learn
— learn how to do other things better and also new things (playing the piano! rock-climbing!)
— figure out how to use my immortality for more learning. (i.e., can I dive to the bottom of the ocean and just like … hang out and watch things? And not have to worry about breathing or anything?)
— become a bodyguard, maybe? I bet I would be awesome at it if I were immortal.
— hopefully find a consenting adult who was willing to become immortal / already immortal, because I would be lonely as hell.

Final Thoughts/Rating

Wendy: 4 lovely stars. I didn’t cry this time, but I appreciate it on a deeper level than I could have as a child. I’ve now learned sadness and regret and disappointment in a way I didn’t know then, and it makes me ache even more for the Tucks. I’m glad Winnie got to live her long, happy life, though. I’m sure that wherever he is, Jesse is glad of it, too.

Layla: 3.5 stars. It’s a good book! And a great book to have a discussion about. But in some ways, it didn’t move me as it did when I was a child.

Kim: 4 stars. I will always remember this book as creating a significant pang in my heart. It was, and will always be, so influential. My heart grieves at Miles and the family he’s lost. Really, at everything that the family has lost. But it all goes to underscore just how wrong it can be.

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Win a 40th Anniversary Hardback Edition of Tuck Everlasting!

We have a gorgeous 40th Anniversary edition of the book to give away to one of our fortunate readers! 

All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you’re specifically excited about reading this book.

Open to residents of the US and Canada aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. See entry form for complete details. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A review copy was provided by the Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Photograph by Wendy Darling.

vine-divider-finalFebruary Readalong: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh

We’re switching gears for February as we turn to the delightful (and sometimes scary–it’s all relative!) story of a family of mice whose home is threatened. The wonderful children’s film The Secret of Nimh is also a wonderful book, and we hope you’ll join us as we visit with some very brave little souls who are sure to touch your hearts.

Title: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
Author: Robert C. O’Brien
Discussion Date: Friday, February 27th
Hashtag: #tmgreadalong

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NimhSome extraordinary rats come to the aid of a mouse family in this Newbery Medal Award-winning classic by notable children’s author Robert C. O’Brien.

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.

This title should be easily available in libraries, and it’s also $6 on Amazon for the paperback. It’s also available on audio, although surprisingly, it doesn’t look like it’s available on Kindle.

–If you’d like to get a head start on March’s book, we will be reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is a special favorite of all three of us, so PREPARE FOR CAPSLOCK OF EXCITEMENT during our discussion!

vine-divider-finalJoin the 2015 Classics Challenge!

It’s also time to reset your counters for a new challenge! Grab the 2015 Classics Challenge button on the sidebar and join us for another year of discovering/revisiting old favorites. We’re keeping the same general guidelines as last year:

— read and review at least 8 classic middle grade or young adult books
— link to The Midnight Garden’s classics challenge and post the button on your blog and/or review.

Everyone who completes the challenge will be entered to win a special prize at the end of the year, and we’ll have fun stuff throughout as well.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in any of our previous discussions, and especially to those faithful readers who managed to complete their 2014 goal. What books would you like to see us read in the future? Any suggestions for how we do this/communicate with you? Let us know below!

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So, would you want to live forever? And why? What would pain you to give up? What could you give up easily? Tell us below!

kim teal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46 Responses to “Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting”

    • Kim

      I hope you get to! It’s a truly magical and enchanting little read, whether young or old. Each age brings its own perspectives and appreciations.
      Kim recently posted…I Was Here: Review

    • Kim

      It’s definitely an interesting and eye widening experience to look at the story with adult eyes! We all were quite taken aback with the dark events and themes. Especially for me they somehow completely went over my head! It’s funny how differently adult and child brains work!
      Kim recently posted…I Was Here: Review

  1. Carina Olsen

    Amazing discussion post girls. <3 I am so curious about this book. I hadn't heard about it before this year, lol. But I think it sounds awesome. And I would love to read and love it too :D Sigh. I think I would love to live forever. <3 Probably. I just. If I could live forever, my biggest wish is that I could stop being sick as well. Fingers crossed for one day, maybe ;) Thank you all for sharing this post. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…In My Mailbox #170

    • Kim

      Oh it’s such a classic! I hope you do get to read it someday, Carina! And I think you’re the first one to say they do want to live forever! What would you do with all that time? o_O Besides read books? :p All the best wishes for your health, honey. xoxo
      Kim recently posted…I Was Here: Review

  2. A Canadian Girl

    I just read this recently and was so surprised to find out that the story only takes place over a few days. I was also quite disturbed to Winnie happily go with strangers and form such an attachment to them quickly and Jesse ask a ten year old Winnie to get married to him a few years later. Lol, I think this is one of the few times where I prefer the movie version because it’s been adapted to make Winnie older.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

    • Kim

      I did enjoy the movie a lot because I am a sap and will take any excuse to get more involved in a romantic storyline. :p Can’t help myself. I am a simple creature. And it unsettling that Winnie so easily goes along with the Tucks! And while it is a totally crazy thing as the story shows, Winnie was starved to escape the stifling eye of her family so I understand it. She was a rather lonely little girl looking to get out and have adventure. She gets that and then some. The entire book can be a lesson in being careful what you wish for.
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

  3. Intisar Khanani

    This book … This book. Oh my goodness, how I loved this book as a kid. It used to creep me out and make me happy at the same time, and the ending–God how I loved that ending. I used to check this out from the library because we were big into books as a family but we also moved a lot. I’d love love love to have a copy now, with my own kids starting to get bigger. I can imagine reading this to them in a couple years…
    Intisar Khanani recently posted…Everything You Know About Archery … Is Probably Wrong

    • Kim

      Oh what a sweet image, reading this to your kids. I can imagine it becoming more and more fulfilling and interesting as they grow older and ask more questions or more fully understand the story. But anytime I hear of parents reading to children it puts a goofy smile on my face. :) And I think creepy and happy are the two weirdly perfect ways to describe this book. I love that the creepy doesn’t cancel out the happy, though.
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

  4. Melinda Christensen

    I have never read this book and it sounds very interesting.

  5. MinMin

    I must admit, I have not read Tuck Everlasting. I have vague memories of watching the movie on VHS, although I must not have been overly impressed. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this book!

    Books I’d love to see done for the readalongs:
    – The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (For me, the first book is a vital part of the foundation of modern YA fiction.)
    – The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Kit! Nat! Hannah! Mercy! I’d love to see a film version of this book, done with faithfulness like the first Anne movie.)
    – From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (This book spurred so many daydreams of living in museums or bookstores or places I loved.)
    – The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (There are many pale imitations, but there is still nothing like this book!)

    • Kim

      You really should read it. Didn’t our awesome discussion manage to convince you? :p And thank you for the suggestions. I remember reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond in grade school and I hated it. I pretty much hated anything that I was forced to read for school (this is weird, I don’t know why-I love reading!) I am certain I’d have a much different and appreciative opinion now so I’d be eager for a re-read.
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

  6. Renee

    Fantastic discussion ladies! Thanks for organizing this fun readalong. :-)

    I read Tuck Everlasting for the first time since middle school last weekend, and like you, I was completely shocked at how scary the book is from an adult perspective. I also totally zeroed in on Winnie and Jesse as a younger reader, and I guess the kidnapping and murder just did not register with me. My sense of time was completely off too – it’s hard to believe all that happened in like a week! That my younger self thought a few days was a perfectly reasonable amount of time to decide to spend eternity with this family, and commit to essentially a 100 year old man in a teen’s body (at age 10!) shows how warped my thought process was back then. :)

    I agree with Wendy, it really does feel like a fairy tale, and I think that’s why even as an adult I forgive things my contemporary sensibilities revolt against. The writing is beautiful, and I like that I’m left wondering what the Tucks and Winnie have been doing. The moment with the toad at the end was still so cool – that is one thing I remembered distinctly from childhood reading that still made an impact as an adult reader.

    I love how you guys would read ALL THE BOOKS. That would be my new full time job as an immortal. Languages and travel would fill my time too! But I think if I’m honest, the younger me who would have guzzled that bottle is completely gone, and I don’t think I’d choose immortality now, especially if I can’t take my loved ones with me.

    Lovely post! Looking forward to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. I haven’t read that one. And oooh The Secret Garden!! I haven’t read that in ages. I hope I still love it! :)
    Renee recently posted…Book Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

    • Layla

      I totally get it. I remember being all team Winnie-drinks-the-drink-and-gets-with-Jesse as a child. (Because why would you not, duh? You just met this guy and he’s obviously GREAT and his family is super loving to you! They took you fishing! It’s time for forever to start now, obviously.) Things I did not remember included:

      (a) the kidnapping
      (b) the murder
      (c) Winnie’s feelings of fear
      (d) Jesse’s age (or Winnie’s, for that matter)
      (e) the man with the yellow suit (which now makes me think of Curious George’s Man with the Yellow Hat)

      The writing is really gorgeous. That’s one of the loveliest things about the book. I particularly like some of the quotes E. chose below – so great. And the moment with the toad is great. (The toad will never know or understand that he’s immortal and get weird about it, he’ll just keep on keeping on, eating flies, hopping around – doing whatever toads do.)

      I wonder if anyone here would choose to drink the water? Mostly, I’m hearing a resounding no (except from Kim on the off-chance that she can become a vampire).

      Oooh. I am so excited for Mrs. Frisby. It’s another one I haven’t reread in years and years. And I remember loving it! Also the creepy animated movie that I believe existed of it. :-D
      Layla recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

  7. E

    Really interesting to read your comments – I wrote mine before I read yours, so that I wouldn’t be too swayed by what you guys had to say, but I’ve added some in now that you’ve given me food for thought!

    This is called a “timeless classic” according to my blurb but I’ve ever heard of it, let alone read it. That’s what I like about these readalongs – classic children’s books over the pond are not the same in the UK, so for me I get introduced to a lot of new things. And, boy was this a good one!

    I think everyone thinks about what it would be like to live for ever as a child. For most children, it is a dream, something wonderful, but even as a child, I didn’t like the idea. And in this book, all children are asked to question their beliefs the idea immortality is a blessing.

    The first thing I have to say is that it is exquisitely written, it really is. I love it when children’s books have real thoughtfulness and care into the craft of the writing, as well as the (arguably more important in children’s literature) narrative. The descriptions of the natural world are particularly enthralling. Listen to these:

    “The sky was a ragged blaze of red and pink and orange, and its double trembled on the surface of the pond like colour spilled from a paintbox. The sun was dropping fast now, a soft red sliding egg yolk…”

    “The sun was a ponderous circle without edges, a roar without sound, a blazing glare so thorough and remorseless that… it seemed an actual presence.”

    “The big glass windows here were lidded eyes that didn’t care – that barely saw them, barely gave back reflections.”

    Natalie Babbitt is a real wordsmith; I’d be glad to read more of her work. Her characterisation is also brilliant: subtle descriptions give us all we need to know the depth of their worries, dreams and habits. I loved Winnie, and I loved her toad. I loved the Tucks, particularly Mae and Mr Tuck. And the air of menace represented by the man in yellow really haunts the pages. Although a children’s book, it deals with a very thought provoking dilemma, and the ending wasn’t really what I expected.

    The whole Jesse and Winnie thing didn’t really creep me out, because it didn’t feel very central to me – I don’t know why. I imagine as a child, I would have found it more of a big part of the novel but as an adult, it was the Tuck family I was more interested in. Like you, I wanted to know what they had been doing for all that time. And, actually, I agree with Kim. I think they haven’t really been doing anything. And that fills me with a sense of horror, much more than the murder and the kidnapping. The thought of immortality spent doing, well, nothing? That is the stuff of nightmares.

    Again, I didn’t really feel horrified by the kidnapping and murder – much as you were all saying you didn’t feel it as a child. Maybe I read like a child, then?! Because it sort of passed me by too. And I hadn’t really taken in quite how short a time period it took place over either. I felt sad for Jesse at the end, but happy for Winnie. When she poured the bottle over the toad, I was a little surprised, but delighted. A child who understands the horror of immortality! Wise beyond her years, young Winnie. If she had kept it, the temptation might have grown; she needed to get rid of it quickly. (even though she still had the back up of the spring in the woods).

    Excellent read – thank you to all at The Midnight Garden!
    E recently posted…Mr B’s Reading Year – Hideous Creatures

    • E

      Ooh, and ‘would I like to live forever?’ In case you didn’t glean it from my review of the book, it’s a resounding NO.

    • Kim

      Thanks so much for joining us, E! :D I love the thoughtfulness and detail of your comments.

      I think one of the most important aspects of the book is that it does confront the idea that eternity is a blessing. I think it’s often propped up in popular culture that living forever would be a positive thing. “We all want eternal life, right?” But I think this novel is adept at pointing out that this concept is quite childlike at its core.

      And I have to thank you for pointing out these lovely passages of prose. I’m ashamed to say they didn’t jump out at me at first (and especially not as a child-whoops!) but I can clearly see it now. Thank you!

      Winnie and her toad really affected me. She loved that toad so much! And it was “just” a toad. And of course loved The Tucks. Like I said, I’ll adore anyone with a Matthew Cuthbert vibe! :p And the ending is somewhat surprising. We’re often used to traditionally happy endings, especially in children’s books. But there is nothing to really indicate that Winnie’s ending was unhappy (and actually a lot to indicate that it was the happy and right choice to make). But children, perhaps more than adults, need to see these sort of difficult choices in their fiction as they grow and learn what they’re going to have to face as they get older.

      I think you’re right-Winnie/Jesse isn’t very central. It certainly isn’t in Winnie’s mind. And there are much bigger problems at work here. Like witnessing the inherent horror in literally being unable to die. Still shuddering forever at that.

      Also, we should totally do a classics swap! I’m super curious about what the UK classics are that we’ve missed out on over here!
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

      • E

        I agree the most important aspect is questioning the positivity of immortality. Most kids just don’t think about it. I can remember having a conversation with my (older) brother about it – he would do anything to live forever, and I hated the idea, even at age seven or so.

        I’m glad you liked the passages I pointed out – they stood out so much for me. Beautiful writing.

        Love this blog!
        E recently posted…The Last Ever Mr B’s Reading Year

    • Kim

      Yay! Thanks for stopping by, Alexa! :) I really should have re-read this one long ago but I’m glad this readalong gave me the kick I needed. I think it’s obvious how much affection I have for the story too so I get you! It’s always comforting when returning to a favorite childhood read and finding that the feelings haven’t changed.
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

  8. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I love that all of you say you’d “read all the books”. *happy sigh* Me, too. I could spend years reading and no one would be able to tell me that I was wasting my life or that I should do something else because I’d have all the time in the world.

    It would be terrible to be stuck at 17. That is not a pretty age for most people. It definitely wasn’t for me!
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Mini-Swarm Reviews: It’s a mystery!

    • Kim

      I mean-come on! It should be obvious that we’d all read all of the books? Right? :p Literally spending your life reading would be a wonderful way to spend a lifetime and never a waste! After all, time enjoyed wasting is not time wasted and all that. ;) And, ugh, stuck at 17…for me the most horrifying aspect is all the hormonal weirdness and the undeveloped brain. AWFUL.
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

    • Layla

      I mean, that is pretty much the only thing that could possibly tempt me into living forever. Not only could I read all the books, I could read books that I wouldn’t have been able to read in my mortal lifespan. Past books! Future books! Books I can’t even imagine happening! That would be pretty wonderful, I think.

      But reading isn’t a waste of time even without immortality – ignore the haters!

      Being stuck at 17, tho, would be a nightmare. But how long do you wait? (Especially knowing that something could happen to you before you take it, and like, anything that changes you as you age will then stay with you permanently.) That said, I’d still wait way past 17. Or 18. Or 19.
      Layla recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

  9. Splinteredpages

    I remember really disliking Tuck Everlasting as a child, likely because it seemed so unfair that a series of events containing such magic could possibly result in the protagonist having to make a painful and heartbreaking choice. Of course, now that I’m older, I love the story for that very reason.

    • Kim

      Yeah, it can be a frustrating experience for sure. The Tucks are so clearly good and goodhearted people. It’s unfortunate to see the eternal same-ness they’re stuck in. And darling Winnie having to make that heart wrenching choice! I can see why you were bothered! But I must admit I’m relived you have a different perspective now. :) It’s all in the growing up, I guess. Just like it was for Winnie. :'( :)
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

  10. Brenda

    I’d really love to read/discuss Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan with everyone ***Crosses fingers**** :)

  11. Brenda

    I was initially really surprised by the dark feel of the story and how weighty of an issue was covered in a story geared to children. Especially given when it was written. I have to admit my momma bear instincts kicked in pretty quick wanting to protect Winnie. I did really love Babbitt’s thoughts on mortality/immortality and that immortality may be a curse and not a blessing. This was on the Battle of the Books list a few years ago, my kiddo remembers reading the beginning, but sadly never finished it. For some reason it was the initial prose that seemed “confusing.” I however loved her prose, just lovely. I’m sure it will be a book that I will continue to reflect on from time to time.
    Brenda recently posted…Classic MG Read-along of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

    • Kim

      I’m so glad you liked it, Brenda! But, heh, don’t worry about the kiddos-at least when I was a child all that dark stuff really went right over my head! As integral as this book was to me as a youngster, though, and despite Ms. Babbitt’s eloquent warnings, I clearly never learned my lesson as I am still quite eager for the vampire lover to appear and whisk me away.

      And I just had to look up Battle of the Books! What a neat program. Although, honestly, the idea of “making” books fun is so weird and foreign to me. Books are already fun! :p
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

  12. Pili

    I really loved this one and wondered about how I would have felt about this as a child. Because kidnapping, blackmailing, murder! But in a way the magic of the book made me not stop and think too much about that as it was happening, at least not when it came to the kidnapping and the Tucks, because you don’t get the feeling that Winnie is really scared as you’re reading. But when it came to the blackmailing of the man in the yellow suit and the murder… Those were less filtered through Winnie’s POV and so hit me more directly.

    It’s incredible that what can be considered a MG book touches such mature themes as these, greed can drive human beings to the worst and the best, like the man in the yellow suit taking advantage of a family’s grief & worry about their child to get a land with a secret, what seemingly good people would do and justify when they feel a secret must be protected, like Mrs Tuck & murder.

    I could relate with Winnie in her need of getting away from a house were she is always “watched” because I was also an only child (mostly,since my brother got married and left home when I was 6 and he had been in the army for years before that…) and yes you get attention, but dear lord is it hard to get time on your own without an adult looking over your shoulder! So her going on an adventure and meeting new people and getting her world view broadened in such a way is magical in itself.

    I don’t what I would have thought of Jesse and Winnie had I read it as a child, but I found it sweet and creepy all that the same time. But the Tucks never feel like they’ve done too much growing up despite all their many years experienced, by trying to stay out of the way and not call attention to themselves, they seem to be stuck to their time and age when they stopped aging, or at least that’s the feeling I got from Jesse.

    If I discovered that all of a sudden I was immortal? Oh dear, first things first I’d panic like Layla… thinking to be on my own when everyone of my loved ones had passed on is damn right scary. But at least I wouldn’t say “too many books, too little time” since I’ll have all the time in the world! That and traveling!

    I’m SOOOOOO excited to read NIHM next month!! That one was one of my beloved books I got from the library when I was a youngling, so I think it’ll actually be my first re-read since I’ve started with the challenge! =D

    And since I got a lil extra in the paycheck this month but cannot get many books or preorders because of change of address and moving and yadda yadda… but I’ve got myself a very pretty illustrated version of the Secret Garden from Book Depo! ;)
    Pili recently posted…Friday Reads: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt!!

    • Kim

      Heh, honestly I’m somewhat concerned for myself for not at all recalling *Anything* about the kidnapping and murder! How did this stuff go so completely over my head? I only remembered this as a sad forbidden love story. I think I’ll just accept your explanation-the magic made me not think about it too much! And it is true that Winnie herself isn’t all that alarmed. Also, getting to go on this adventure and escape from the solitude and overprotectiveness of her family was something that she very much needed. As we see it’s quite the transformative experience for her.

      Sweet and creepy at the same time is probably the best way to describe Winnie and Jesse. And you’re right. It does seem like they’re still mentally at whatever point they were frozen at. Jesse especially is very youthful. But even 17 and 10 is creepy. She is a legit child! Goodness. God I would haaaate to be stuck at 17. At least let me be frozen forever with a fully developed brain! Glad Winnie made the right decision, though. I do wonder a lot about the missing years. What did she get up to? Did she regret her decision?

      Haha and you guys shouldn’t panic about being immortal! Just do like me and secure yourself an immortal partner. It’d be glorious!! All of the travels! All of the books! Allllllllll of them. Although perhaps the inevitable heat death of the universe wouldn’t be too fun to witness. Or when humans evolve into another species and you’re just a weirdo immortal evolutionary relic. Sorry, my brain goes weird places sometimes.

      I’m pretty excited about NIMH too! Even though I’ve never read it and only vaguely know what it’s about. I just know that Layla loved it and that’s enough for me.

      And yay! I’d be curious about that pretty illustrated version! I actually haven’t ever read the real Secret Garden. I read the Great Illustrated Classic version when I was a pretty little kid. And the 1993 film is one of my very, very favorites and a favorite part of my childhood too.
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting

      • Pili

        Hmph, if I had to choose when to become immortal, I’d wanted to be 28 forever! Except that I’m older than that already…. Ugh!

        But being stuck at 17, oh dear I feel I’d be wanting to die if 17 year old me were to live forever! Nope, not 17!! I love the idea of traveling and reading but I’m still unsure of the idea of living forever… I guess too much Doctor Who has made wary of leaving forever.

        I have to agree, I would have loved to see when Winnie made the choice of not drinking from the spring and to let her childhood choice go and not wait for Jesse to appear. I would have loved to see how the Tucks adapted to the growing world and technology!

        I’ll share some pics of the Illustrated version of The Secret Garden as soon as it gets here! I’m so excited because I got a pretty Barnes & Noble leather edition! =D I have such a love for pretty books! *sigh*
        Pili recently posted…Friday Reads: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt!!

    • Kim

      There’s no “maybe” about it! Definitely! It’s also a pretty short book so it shouldn’t take any time at all. It leaves a lasting impact, though.

    • Kim

      Oh you must! I think it’s an especially lovely read for children because a lot of what will bother an adult reader (Jesse is 104! Winnie is 10! Stahp!) won’t even register to a kid (like it didn’t for me). But all the same it’s never too late to appreciate a classic!
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Tuck Everlasting