Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Beauty of Tuck Everlasting: Confessions of a Non-Book-Purist

The sweet earth opened out its wide four corners to her like the petals of a flower ready to be picked, and it shimmered with light and possibility till she was dizzy with it. 
~ Tuck Everlasting (Book)

Let me just dive right into the confessions:
  • I watched and loved the movie many times over before I picked up the book.
  • I adored both the movie and the book.
  • I really don't mind that they were different from each other. 
  • In fact, I love them both for being their own brilliant works.
I just finished reading Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt for the very first time the other night. It's an enchanting and strange little tale about a 10-year-old girl who speaks for so many growing-up hearts with her conflicting desires to explore the world and never leave the familiarity of home. It's also, of course, about the Tucks - an endearing family with a desire to Winnie, to the world, to life.

There's an innocence about the story that makes the profound questions and observations all the more powerful for the contrast.

The movie version shares many similarities in plot and distinct elements. But it's also an altogether different story experience. Miles is a heartbroken man "looking for wars to fight." Romance is a much more imminent possibility for teenage Winnie. And the Tuck family is more of a sober (but still entirely lovable) mystery.

You won't find answers about everlasting life in either version, at least in a direct fashion (although I believe the movie offers a beautiful hint), but you can find thought-provoking questions, as well as memorable words and portrayals of deep love and wise living. 

Some of my favorite lines from each to ponder...

Do not fear death. Fear the unlived life. 

She had done it because - in spite of everything, she loved them. This of all things her family understood, and afterward they drew together staunchly around her.

Wake up with the dawn. 

You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that's the blessing.

I feel quite happy to have finally enjoyed the book! And I've started watching the movie again, because this story world...? It charms me and begs me to linger in a moment where time's wheel pauses and offers much-needed perspective on life, "shimmer[ing] with light and possibility."


Have you read or watched Tuck Everlasting? What struck you most about the story? 

If you've experienced both, were you OK with the movie being different from the book? Do you prefer one version over the other?


Grace said...

Like you, I watched the movie before I read the book. I liked them both, but I think I liked the movie better. Still, they're both enjoyable in their own ways. :-D

Amber Holcomb said...


I agree! :) I loved both, but the movie does hold a special place in my heart. They did a fabulous job adding more complexity and emotional depth to the story. Like with Miles - it makes so much sense that his character would be bitter and heartbroken because of what happened to him. (Although it was neat to see a sweeter side to him in the book. :))

Plus, the romantic in me likes that Winnie is a little older in the movie. (Jesse ♥)

Thanks for commenting!


Unknown said...

My mom and I found Tuck Everlasting on Netflix and watched it one night. I liked it...but it was so sad at the end!!! *sniff sniff* I didn't know it was based off a book. That's pretty cool!

Unknown said...

I like the book and didn't realize it is a movie! How exciting!! : D

Courtney Clark (The Green Mockingbird Blog) said...

I do love the movie, but I have not read the book! I didn't actually know that they were that different. I love the last quote you shared from the book - now I'm intrigued!

On a recent visit by my family, I talked/forced my 14yr old niece into watching the movie for the first time. (More like "you haven't seen this, sit here and watch it now!")
She did love it, like me, but was upset that Jesse and Winnie didn't live happily ever after TOGETHER. But, like you, I love the movie for its thought-provoking-ness.

Amber Holcomb said...


It has one of those bittersweet endings, doesn't it? So poignant. Tuck Everlasting makes it a wonderful experience in its own right, even knowing the basic plot. :)


Amber Holcomb said...


Oh, you are in for a treat!! There are some differences in characterization, but I LOVE the movie, and I hope you do, too, if you give it a try! Of course, I saw the movie first, so I'm not sure how the reverse experience might be - but I'm pretty sure you'd really enjoy it if you're OK with creative license in interpretation. :)


Amber Holcomb said...


The basic story is the same, and there are a lot of similar plot elements. But the characterization is different in some regards, and it's really a lovely read with wonderful writing. :) And the version I bought at Barnes & Noble includes an interview with the author at the end, which was really interesting!

Isn't that line so beautiful?? I hope you enjoy the book if you do decide to pick it up!

I think I watched the movie for the first time in my early teens, when my grandparents and uncle showed it to me. Perfect age to see it for the first time. :) Glad you were able to introduce your niece to it! While I love happily-ever-afters, endings like this one can stick with you and make you think. Sad, but right somehow, you know?