Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Reader's Diary #1094- Natalie Babbitt: Tuck Everlasting

When I wrote about Don Delillo's White Noise back in December, I suggested that I have a fear of immortality. Yes, immortality, not mortality. But though this phobia seems to have been foreign to Delillo, clearly Babbitt has given it a lot of thought. And wrote a kids' book about it no less.

Actually, this would be a perfect bridge between a children's novel and young adult novel. A coming of age tale and it also, I'm sure, would present young people with an idea most probably wouldn't have considered: death is natural and even necessary. Tuck Everlasting tells of a girl who inadvertently gets kidnapped by a family with a secret: they can live forever. They're miserable to the point of having tried suicide on multiple occasions, but they cannot die.

It's not as gloomy as I'm presenting it, because there's just enough mystery and supernatural to gloss over the philosophy. It's like vampires without the bloodsucking. But most importantly, Babbitt doles it out with enough tact to make it all surprisingly beautiful and convincing. Who wants to live forever? Not me!

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