Genre: Realistic fiction
Immortality: the answer to all men’s desires. You may think that not everyone wants to live forever, and that’s probably true, but think about our motives and our goals. Love, riches, hatred, power, peace… with all the time in the world, you can accrue and accomplish any of those things. Love comes with time. Power comes with time. But is it worth it?
The man in the yellow suit aims to sell enchanted water to those who deserve it, only the best of the best. This isn’t inherently evil despite the fact that no one person should be deserving of eternity over another. What makes it dishonest and impure is that he wants to charge an amount for it that only an elite few could afford. Time and time again it has been proven that those with the kindest hearts are not always those with the largest wallets, as is proven in this very novel by characters like Mae Tucker.
Winnie Foster is young, even by mortal standards. She likes to play in the garden, speak to lost toads, and, most importantly, to think fantastic thoughts. Once intending to run away from home, she is shocked to find that leaving the safety of her gate, especially with a group of strangers, is much more adventure than she’d imagined.
If Winnie is life, then Mae Tucker is light. She, unlike her husband, is still capable of experiencing the gift that is every new day. She doesn’t get to see her sons as often as she would like, but she looks forward to their visits with the fervor of a woman with limited sunsets. All of the Tucks are kind and welcoming of small Winnie and her big dreams of adventure. But Mae’s sons, Jesse and Miles, see possible companionship in Winnie. They are normally incapable of having long-term relations with those who will notice their aging (or lack thereof). The sons—Jesse especially—put the possibility of eternal love into Winnie’s mind while putting a bottle of enchanted water into her hands.
I went into this novel dreading romantic undertones. Of course, I would be lonely if I were sentenced to immortality without a romantic partner, but I just couldn’t see this young girl, the determined and compassionate Winnie Foster, wanting to live forever with a boy she hardly knew. The end is satisfying. This is a book that is well-worth waiting for. Winnie’s decision is not the climax but the conclusion. I don’t know that I would have chosen the same fate, but it’s not quite as simple as life over death.
“Nothing ever seems interesting when it belongs to you – only when it doesn’t.” (pg. 7)
“Though her instinct was to turn and run, she was pleased to discover that her curiosity was stronger.” (pg. 25)