Friday, October 24, 2014

"Practical Magic" by Alice Hoffman

This was the third book by Alice Hoffman that I read, and probably the one she's most known for. The book, in my opinion, is nothing like the movie in this case- although Alice Hoffman herself mentioned on her FB page that Practical Magic the movie won as best witch movie this Halloween. (Yes- I use Facebook to author-stalk my favorites. Sue me.)

What makes this book interesting is the fact that family history plays a part in setting the mood for the story. The Owen women are routinely blamed for everything bad that happens in the village, so much so that even when the orphaned Sally and Gillian arrive they're ostracized by association. And because of the odd things that happen to them- Sally is followed to school by her aunts' glaring (group of [black] cats) one day- the ostracism increases.

The Plot:
Sally and Gillian Owen grow up under the "care" of their eccentric aunts, but really they raise themselves. Sally is the shy responsible one who does the cooking and cleaning; Gillian the wild and reckless one, breaking hearts and skipping school. When they near adulthood, they part ways- Sally stays home with her aunts, Gillian pursues one man after another, crisscrossing the country so much that Sally has trouble keeping in touch with her. But will fate, and perhaps a bit of practical magic, bring them back together again?

Gillian was easily my least favorite character- mostly because she causes a lot of trouble in the book without thinking twice about it. Her actions were never really thought out, and as an INTJ personality type, I judge her for it. Shame on you, Gillian, for bringing trouble to Sally's door!

Sally is more my type of character- strong with moments of weakness. Her moments of weakness often lead to trouble as well, but I don't blame her for it. It's all Gillian's dang fault.

Practical Magic is a great story with characters that left me a little puzzled. Some of their mistakes were a little too convenient for the plot, but the writing is what shines through for me about any Alice Hoffman novel. If you're looking for a little witchery and mischief this Halloween, consider Practical Magic for your cauldron of thought.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a great yarn with disconcerting characters.

Content: Ages 18+ for sex and cursing.

Page Count: 244 pages in my first edition

Famous Last Words:

"There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can."

Monsters Within: The worst kind- stalkerish ex-boyfriends.

P.S. I really don't like the movie, but hey- it won.


  1. Interesting that the movie isn't really like the book, because I confess that I LOVE the movie. =) (I'm also just partial to anything with Nicole Kidman in it, lol.) I've been meaning to read a Hoffman book for SO LONG. Maybe this will be my first. Great review, Litha! <3

    1. I think the movie would've been better had I not read the book first. The movie is pretty light where the book is more dark, and even with some great actresses I wasn't that fond of it. Hoffman books are always on my auto-buy list- I hope you enjoy reading something of hers someday.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
      ~Litha Nelle


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