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In the late 1800's, Winnie Foster's life is boring. Nothing exciting ever happens, and being in a family of strait-laced blue bloods has cramped her style. She goes out exploring in the woods one day and meets the Tucks. The Tucks became immortal after drinking water from a spring. She is fascinated by Jesse Tuck, a boy who's really 104 years old. The family shares with her the secrets of the spring. However, a man in a yellow suit is also after the secret behind the Tucks' immortality. The Tucks are threatened by the man in a yellow suit until they are in grave danger. Winnie must choose whether to live forever, and find how to save the Tucks.
The story has been adapted into a film twice: in 1981 by Office of Communications and in 2002 by Walt Disney Productions.
Tropes used by the novel:
- Adaptation Expansion: Some padding is to be expected. The book isn't very long after all.
- American Civil War: Miles was a soldier in the recent movie
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Mild example. Winnie wishes to get away from her family. Then she's kidnapped. But the experience turns out to be not so bad after all.
- There's also the obvious one about desiring immortality. The Tucks take care to see that Winnie understands how staying young forever isn't as great as it sounds.
- Can't Grow Up: Obviously.
- Complete Immortality: They don't age and they are Nigh Invulnerable.
- Deal with the Devil: The Tucks are suspected of this in-story.
- Evil Detecting Cows: The first chapter of the book has the cows sensing something very wrong with the forest itself and quickly going around it.
- The Film of the Book: There are two different adaptations.
- Immortal Procreation Clause: The Tucks don't age, they don't die. Mrs. Tuck was past childbearing age when she drank from the spring, so it isn't an issue for the elder Tucks. However, the eldest Tuck son got married in the years after they drank from the spring and before they realized its effects; he had children, but his wife eventually thought he'd made a Deal with the Devil and left him.
- Mama Bear: Mae's usually very sweet, but she kills The Man in the Yellow Suit to protect her family. Not to mention kidnapping Winnie for the same reason.
- She's also this to Winnie. That's the main reason she kills The Man in the Yellow Suit. She didn't want him to force Winnie to drink the spring water and condemn her to an eternity of loneliness.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Winnie (who is ten years old in the novel) wants to marry Jesse when she turns seventeen. In the movie, the changed her to be fifteen.
- The Men in Black: The man in the yellow suit
- My Beloved Smother
- No Name Given/Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Man in the Yellow Suit
- Pistol-Whipping: Mae Tuck smacks The Man in the Yellow Suit with a shotgun, fracturing his skull.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Winnie is technically kidnapped by the Tucks, but they didn't mean any harm by it.
- Victorian America/The Edwardian Era
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: This is a major theme.