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148 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1975
"But dying's part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that's the blessing. But it's passing us by, us Tucks. Living's heavy work, but off to one side, the way we are, it's useless, too. . . You can't have living without dying. So you can't call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road."It's an interesting philosophical question: if you had the chance to drink from this fountain, why shouldn't you? Is the downside really as bitter as the Tucks feel it is? How would it affect our world if the word got out?
"Know what that is, all around us, Winnie?" said Tuck, his voice low. "Life. Moving, growing, changing, never the same two minutes together."
It's a wheel, Winnie. Everything's a wheel, turning"
You can't have living without dying. So you can't call it living, what we got
But dying's part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that's the blessing.
1. In the book, Winnie wants to run away because she is tired of being cooped up being the only child. While reading and I hadn’t checked Wiki yet, I thought that this reason is flimsy considering that their family is rich and being an only child she naturally gets and enjoys has all the attention. Well the book did not really elaborate her problem but I thought it was not logical even on a child’s perspective. I guess this is the reason why the film executives change the reason to that of Winnie being planned to be sent by her parents to a boarding school.I can see why some readers would like this book but not me. Sorry.
2. In the book, to save Mae, Miles Tuck removes the window and Winnie switches places with Mae Tuck. This is the impossible or already used-a-million-times scheme and I thought it lacked imagination. So the film executives probably were with me so they concocted a more elaborate situation in the film: Winnie tells the prison guard that the people who kidnapped her are back to get her. He runs outside with a shotgun to face them. He shoots them, but runs away when he sees they cannot die. Meanwhile, Winnie grabs his keys and unlocks Mae and Angus's cell doors. I thought it was a more sensible scheme.
3. In the book, Winnie seems to be falling in love with Jesse. What??? A 10-y/o young girl looking at a 17-y/o boy like she is staring at a pinup model on a Playgirl magazine? This might be an exaggeration but Winnie described Jesse twice in her mind as beautiful with the green eyes like jade or something. I am not sure about this but when my daughter was 10, she was as innocent as a babe in the woods and did not have crushes yet and she looked at boys like playmates to shoot balls with. I know it is different from one girl to the next but my daughter was also an only child and they say that the people of yesteryears were more conservative than this or the recent generations including mine. So, probably the film executives saw this and they changed Winnie’s age to 15 which I think is more reasonable. Wait, this book was published in 1975 during the hippie generation, Beat generation and rock and roll era so probably Natalie Babbitt was a young writer belonging to those generations and 10-y/o girls are way advance in their notions of free love?
”It was one thing to talk about being by yourself, doing important things, but quite another when the opportunity rose. The characters in the stories she read always seemed to go off without a thought or care, but in real life- well, the world was a dangerous place.”And yet despite her fleeting thoughts of running away, she never really intends to do it... until the fateful day she meets Jesse Tuck by the spring under the tree. His family takes her and brings her back to their home nestled in the woods. For you see, the Tucks drank from the spring a long time ago, and what they didn’t know was the fact that the spring contained magic that granted them eternal life. It’s up to them to protect the spring, and with that, Winnie. Since she knows their secret, will she be able to keep it? And is it really worth the price to live forever?
”’I don’t want to die.The first thing they think of is probably the fanciful wish of ‘I want to live forever.’ But is it really worth it? This book tackles that very question (and death itself) with fierce sensitivity and care, asking and hopefully answering the timeless question. The Tucks are very salt of the earth people who show Winnie that living forever isn’t all that’s its made out to be, and she should treasure life and the cycle of it for what it is. And yet...
‘No, Not now. Your time’s not now. But dying’s a part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can’t pick out the pieces you like and read the rest. Being part of the while thing, that’s the blessing.”
”Winnie did not believe in fairy tales. She had never longed for a magic wand, did no expect to marry a prince, and was scornful- most of the time- of her grandmother’s elves.”Winnie was fairly fleshed out, though to be honest I thought she was better fleshed out in the movie. But I loved her interactions with the Tucks, and watching the process of her realizing what it would mean to truly never die.
”’Life’s got to be lived, no matter how long or short. You got to take what comes. We just go along, like everyone else, one day at a time.”