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Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic (original 1995; edition 2003)

by Alice Hoffman

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3,165921,769 (3.77)117
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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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 |
Practical Magic is a complex story focusing on Sally and Gillian Owens. After their parents died in a fire when they were little girls, they were sent to live with their two eccentric aunts, Frances and Jet, in a dramatic old house on Magnolia Street, which was built centuries before by their ancestor, Maria Owens, an apparent witch.

The girls live a life without rules, drinking soda for breakfast and never having to brush their teeth. But Gillian feels trapped, and when she's old enough, runs away with a boy who becomes her first husband out of many. Sally, meanwhile, only wants true love but is afraid that she'll end up like her mother and father - too in love to save themselves from the fire that killed them. But one day Sally meets Michael, the man of her dreams, whom she marries and has two children with, Kylie and Antonia.

Though tragedy strikes and when Michael dies, Sally blames herself, the aunts and the centuries-old curse that surrounded the women of her family. She takes the girls away, despite their protests, in the hopes of giving them a normal life with rules and healthy dinners and clean teeth.

But Gillian, whom trouble seems to follow, comes to visit Sally's new house on a balmy summer night with a surprise in her car, trouble up her sleeve and a detective following not far behind, and asks Sally for help to clean up the mess she made.

The story is back-to-back magic and mystery, a fairy tale for grown-ups, with a dramatic ending that sees the magic that surrounds the family come to lend a hand.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practical_Magic_(book)"
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Team Five (High Fives) Reader #1

Tag: Paranormal Romance & Family Relationships

Practical Magic
, Alice Hoffman (244 pages)

★ ★ &39733 ★ ★ ?

First I'd like to say, I still can not get over how different the book is from the movie, but, I Still LOVE the Movie as well....

Sally & Gillian are sisters, OWENS Sisters.... Owens women do not usually have so much luck in love, and know the heartbreak of loss, however, Owens women are strong, single minded and have very much "luck" in other aspects of their lives. Sally & Gillian are as different as day & night: Sally is older, practical and orderly. Gillian is wild, disorderly, and very impractical.

At an early age, Sally & Gillian are left orphans (their mother & father were on a 2nd honeymoon and were so enthralled in each other, that they never noticed their room catching fire). Sally & Gillian call their only know relatives: "The Aunts".... Older women who live together in a large rambling house, built by Maria Owens (an alleged witch).... The Aunts know a thing or two about love & loss, so although the entire neighborhood is scared to death of them, it does not stop the local women (in need) visiting them at twilight for "magick" to help their ailing relationships.

Sally is living with the Aunts, happily married w/ two young daughters... when the Watch Beetle of Death shows up in her husband's favorite chair..... Her mourning affects the entire household & Gillian comes to her rescue..... Sally moves and begins a new life.

Gillian has runaway from the Aunts years ago and is now in a horrendous affair with a totally abusive man, Jimmy, whom she keeps under a modicum of control with small doses of Belladonna..... But somehow while in route out of town (he has killed college students by selling them jimson weed as a recreational drug), Jimmy keels over & dies!

With nowhere else to turn, Gillian shows up at Sally's doorstep with the now dead Jimmy....... Sally & Jillian plant Jimmy in the garden under the Lilacs......

Secondary to the story is the relationship of Sally's daughters: Kylie & Antonia, and their relationship w/ Gillian.....

As the story goes on: Jimmy's ghost becomes a very active force and needs to be dealt with (in the movie he was more active). Love is all around for Sally, Gillian, Kylie & Antonia, they learn to deal with the love of family, their relationships with each other, and with the men of their dreams.

I Absolutely LOVE This Book! For me it was interesting and it held my interest. I enjoyed the story & the themes of Love, Magic as an everyday occurence, and Family Relationships (especially about day & night sisters)! ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (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)

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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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