If you’re on the lookout for a children’s novel that will launch you head first into an existential crisis, look no further than Natalie Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting. It’s short, lovely, and is perhaps what first made you realize you’re going to die someday.
Author: Natalie Babbitt
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: 1985
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Summary (from Goodreads):
Warning! This may contain, well, a lot of spoilers.
Tuck Everlasting follows privileged child protagonist Winifred (Winnie) Foster as she finds the courage to question the meaning of life.
One big difference in the movie (though there are many) is that both Winnie and Jesse are “seventeen,” which makes their potential love dynamic infinitely less creepy. This does detract from the original message, and completely strips Jesse of his awkwardness/desperation, but it also makes his character much more likable, and the story more suspenseful.
|Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but there's this spring...|
Another big difference from book to film is the emphasis on a smaller character, “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” the grandson of a woman who lived in an insane asylum with Miles Tuck’s former wife. This is how he came to hear of the family who was, allegedly, immortal. Why he trusted the ramblings of a woman in an 1800’s insane asylum, I’m not sure, but it inspired him to track them down so he could learn their secret and also live forever.
Being fairly certain that he’s discovered the forest where the Tucks are hiding out, he offers Winnie’s parents to search the woods for them. When he discovers Winnie is with the Tucks, and conveniently overhears the story of the spring’s magical properties, he offers to bring her to her parents in exchange for the woods, which Winnie’s moneybags father also owns. They agree and he rushes off to fetch her.
See for yourself! (Clip below).
I cry my eyes out every time.
I’ve never been able to decide if this movie is a guilty pleasure or not.