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Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic (original 1995; edition 2003)

by Alice Hoffman

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3,328931,633 (3.77)120
Title:Practical Magic
Authors:Alice Hoffman
Info:Berkley Trade (2003), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 286 pages
Collections:Your library

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Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (1995)


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A quick and fun read. What would you do for the ones you love? This tale of two sisters, and the lengths they go to be there for each other was very enjoyable. ( )
  BrittanyLyn | Jun 22, 2016 |
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
3 stars

Practical Magic is the history of a family of women with unique talents. Two orphaned sisters are raised by a pair of unusual aunts and spend most of their early and middle adult years trying in various ways to escape their family history and paranormal heritage. I felt that the first half of the book was a very slow set up for the real story of the second half. I felt more involved in the second half of the story when the action is more condensed in time. It was a relief when it appeared that these women might establish healthy relationships at last. The magical aspects of the story were easy to accept in the context that was established in the slow beginning, but I did have difficulty believing in the love at first sight aspect of the love stories.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I'm a fan of the 1998 movie, which certainly colored my experience of the book. On its own, the book is interesting. The point of view shifts fluidly between characters; the quantity of sex and fantasies and thoughts about sex surprised me a bit, likely because the movie didn't really touch on that. It's painful getting into Gillian's head, seeing her lack of self-worth up close, but it feels realistic. The aunts have a much smaller role, since the majority of the book doesn't take place at their home, and Jimmy's much less a menace. Sally's daughters are older, too, and lack the closeness they have in the movie.

I feel like overall there was even less plot in the book than there is in the movie- it meanders, touching on bits and pieces but never really establishes a significant issue to overcome by the end. It was a quick read and swept me along as I read, but it felt unsatisfyingly unfinished. ( )
  stormyhearted | May 4, 2016 |
There were moments where the writing was beautiful, but I got to the end and thought: we went through all that for THAT? I think the story seemed both less and more to me because I'd already seen the movie. Anyone who liked the film should read this: there are moments where the prose is beautiful even though I'm not sure what I think of Hoffman overall. ( )
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
[March 31, 2011] My copy is on it's way to me any day now!!! Can't wait to hold it in my hands and dig in!! Hope the book will be as good as the movie!!

[Tuesday, ‎March ‎27, ‎2012] I'm somewhere close to half of the book and I got to say it, the movie is 100 times better then the book! The characters are dull and dark here, and even the events take so long to develop! I decided to stick to the movie, it's already one of my top favorites. Who says the books are always better then movies should read this book! ( )
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
If there is an author north of the border who has managed to successfully translate the language of magic realism into the American idiom, it is Alice Hoffman.
Indeed, the title of Ms. Hoffman's latest novel, "Practical Magic," says it all: if you are going to believe in magic, it had better have palpable and easily comprehensible results.
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For every evil under the sun, There is a remedy, or there is none. If there be one, seek till you find it; If there be none, never mind it.  MOTHER GOOSE
To Libby Hodges, To Carol DeKnight

First words
For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in town.
Math plus desire equals who you are.
Grief is all around; it's just invisible to most people.
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Book description
A tale of two sisters, Gillian and Sally Owens, brought up by their two elderly guardian aunts in a world of spells and exotica. As the magical charm of their childhood wears away, they escape from this mystical mayhem - one by running away, the other by marrying. Many years go by before strange circumstances thrust them together again, and once more they are in a place that blends the mundane and mysterious, the familiar and fantastic, the normal and the numinous. Three generations of Owens women are brought together in an experience of unexpected insight and revelation, teaching all of them that such perceptions are rare and wonderful and - to be sure - practical.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425190374, Paperback)

For most adults, fairy tales are among the childish things we've put away. Alice Hoffman, however, feels differently. Practical Magic starts out as a tale of Gillian and Sally Owens, two orphaned girls whose aunts are witches--of a mild sort. For the past two centuries, Owens women have been blamed for all that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town, ever since their ancestor arrived, rich, independent, and soon accused of theft: "And then one day, a farmer winged a crow in his cornfield, a creature who'd been stealing from him shamelessly for months. When Maria Owens appeared the very next morning with her arm in a sling and her white hand wound up in a white bandage, people felt certain they knew the reason why." The aunts are daily ostracized by the same upstanding citizens who sneak to their house at night for magical love cures. To the sisters they are for the most part benevolently absent, though their bell, book, and candle routine makes life a torment for Gillian, beautiful and blonde and lazy, and Sally, who's all too responsible. But when one of the aunts' cures works too well, ending as a curse, the dangers of real love become all too clear. In Hoffman's world being bewitched, bothered, and bewildered is no mere metaphor--and neither is desire. The elbows of one enamored man pucker a linoleum counter, another walks around with singed cuffs. It's difficult to catch the author's power in brief quotes. She needs space and increment to build her exquisite variations of vision and reality, her matter-of-fact announcements of the preternatural. Practical Magic again and again makes one recall the thrill of hearing at bedtime, "Now will I a tale unfold..." --Kerry Fried

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:47 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Sorcery is the legacy of Gillian and Sally Owens, a legacy they both try to escape until they realize their magic is a gift, not an affliction.

(summary from another edition)

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