The musical based on Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting had only a brief run on Broadway. Fortunately, we have the original cast recording of the delightful music from the show. My love for these songs inspired me to read the novel.
I admire the book because it treats young readers with respect, and because it’s so beautifully written.
Although it’s intended as a story for kids, it considers the three biggest themes in literature: right and wrong, good and evil, life and death.
The main characters are the Tuck family, Winnie Foster, and the mysterious man in the yellow suit. And there’s another character that isn’t human: the world of nature.
Babbitt’s superbly written descriptions of nature are the highlight of the novel. Here’s the opening paragraph of the book.
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 on its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motion- less, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.
Tuck Everlasting may be intended as a novel for young people, but it got under my older-adult skin. “The question of what it might be like to live forever,” the author told an interviewer, “is something that everyone thinks about. And I think you think about it more when you find out that you can’t do it.”
Copyright 2018 by Brian Dean Powers