The First Week of August
August 06, 2010
"The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning."
Every August, I think of this the first line of one of my favorite books, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. The entire story takes places in the heat of that hottest week in an Appalachian summer. We, the reader, are introduced to the small town of Treegap, where Winnie Foster will meet the Tuck family, who will offer her the chance at immortality. The writing is lyrical, descriptive, and not a word is wasted. The image of a circle serves as a leitmotif even from that very first line's mention of the Ferris wheel. Tuck Everlasting is a book that I read slowly, in the way that some people eat delicacies slowly to savor the experience.
And these days, like anyone, I think about vampires. Not much, mind you, because I'm generally more interested in the actions of the living than the undead. I wonder, instead of asking "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob", if we should ask "Team Bella" or "Team Winnie?" Both Tuck and Twilight feature a girl who falls in love with an immortal boy and has to choose if she will enter into that immortality. I prefer the Tuck setting of the question because, among other reasons, it is concise (130 pages versus 500 in Twilight alone). Longer books and series offer more scenes for you to bask in, but shorter books offer condensed, potent scenes that stick with you after you're done reading. I will never forget the image of Winnie rocking slowly in her too-small rocking chair, knees tucked up to her chin, trying to decide what to do as the low rumble of thunder approaches from a distance, reminding her of pain. More text means more to forget, if you ask me.
But don't take my word for it. Check out Twilight or Tuck Everlasting from the library. You may also want to visit some websites to learn more about Stephenie Meyer and Natalie Babbitt and then comment below. Would you be on Team Winnie or Team Bella?Tags: vampires, book review