Macmillan is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. They posed the same question for 40 bloggers: “What if you could live forever?” Here’s my answer –
I am new to Tuck Everlasting, and after reading the book, it did make me think. What if I could drink from the spring, knowing that I would live forever? Would I do it? If I had answered the question when I was 20, I probably would have jumped at the chance. Think of the things I could accomplish! I could devote myself to a cause, like finding the cure for cancer, and know that time wasn’t concern – I had all the time in the world, after all. But that decision relies on the wisdom of being old enough and mature enough to realize that the gift of time comes with an obligation to do something good for the rest of humanity. If I had found that spring when I was twenty, I would have taken a drink, and probably lived a life like Jesse. The youngest Tuck, Jesse thinks that their unnatural life should be lived to the fullest. Go off and do your own thing, without any concerns about societal obligations. His life view makes sense – they have to keep the spring a secret, they can’t put down any roots for fear of causing suspicions because they don’t age, so why should he go out of his way to do anything for anyone else?
At my present point in time, though, if I stumbled on that spring, no, I would not take a sip. Why not? Having had to say goodbye to people I loved, the thought of doing it repeatedly, and often, is a huge deterrent. Think about it – if you lived forever, but nobody else did, you’d be saying goodbye an awful lot. You’d be alone a lot. With each death, it feels like sliver of my soul dies, too. How long before there wasn’t anything left of me that really mattered? At least the Tucks had each other to while away the endless years of their life. But what if it was just you, and you were alone? Sure, you could make connections with others, fleeting friendships that to you lasted the blink of an eye. What would that be like? Maybe that’s why Tuck considered that drink from the spring a curse instead of a blessing.
What do you think? Would you drink from the spring?
Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing than it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune . . .
You can order a copy of the 40th anniversary edition here – http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250059291