Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Anyone who has seen the movie version of Practical Magic will utterly underestimate the book.  I like the movie; it is what inspired me to read the book.  However, the movie has got nothing of the magic and power that Hoffman infuses into her book.

Sally and Gillian Owens are sisters come from a long line of peculiar women.  They have been snubbed as witches in their small town for as long as they can remember, something not helped by their aunts side business of love spells.  Gillian solved this by running away as soon as she could and never looking back.  Sally coped by being as normal as possible. After a love spell worked by the aunts leaves Sally a widow with two daughters of her own, she too flees to find her way in the world outside of magic.  Yet, it seems that the two Owens sisters cannot run far or fast enough.  When Gillian shows up on Sally’s doorstep with a dead body, their magic starts cropping up in all the wrong places.  Gillian, Sally, and Sally’s two daughters, Antonia and Kylie, have to find a way to live with each other and the magic that seems to find its way into their lives.

Practical Magic brims with tantalizing magical imagery.  Whether its the scent of lilac bushes that stop women in the tracks or passion so intense is scorches a man’s cuffs, Hoffman has a talent for introducing magic into the everyday world that seems plausible.  The imagery itself is almost magical; I swear I could smell those lilacs as well.

For those who like the movie, the book is different in a good way.  The book is a bit darker and a bit more passionate.  Yet I enjoyed that Hoffman gives a larger part to the two younger Owens sisters, Sally’s daughters, that was not expressed in the movie.  All in all, this was the first Alice Hoffman book I have read, but it won’t be the last.

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One Response to “Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman”

  1. Kelly House Says:

    I think its always better to watch the movie before reading the books, simply because most books are better than the movies that come out, they generally leave out small details that make the book. Anyway, The Book Report did a show where Alice was interviewed, it was quite good, go to to give it a listen.

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