Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman


Paperback: 336 pages - Publisher: Berkley (June 1, 1996) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0425152499 - ISBN-13: 978-0425152492

Practical Magic

by Alice Hoffman

     For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well: As children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats.

     But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared, even into adulthood, brought them back – almost as if by magic…

12-Nov-08 to 15-Nov-08

Review: There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain…

When their parents died, Sally stepped up to bad, calming the sitter down long enough to have her riffle through her mother’s address book and called the aunts. If the aunts didn’t step up to the plate, Sally and Gillian would become wards of the state.

The aunts took them in. While growing up, Sally and Gillian are teased and tormented while growing up, asll all Owens daughters are. Gillian, the youngest, rude and selfish, runs away at 18. Sally, ever so smart, calm and responsible, has done nothing but take care of them all, cleaning, laundry, healthy meals. She meets a man, falls in love and has two beautiful girls, Antonia and Kylie.

When her husband dies, remained in bed for year before she finally awakens and begins fresh. She’s tired of the life she lives while in the aunts’ house; Kylie, the youngest, is much like Sally, while Antonia is growing up just as spoiled, rude and selfish as her aunt Gillian. Desperate for a change, she buys a house on Long Island and moves the girls away.

And just when the monotony of life feels comfortable to Sally, Gillian shows up at her door in the middle of the night, her mean and abusive boyfriend, Jimmy, stone cold dead in the passenger seat of his car. In the heat of the moment, it’s decided they’d bury Jimmy in the back yard.

And that’s when their lives completely change…

While I thought the story was good, I had a hard time with it. Yes, the characters were interesting, watching them grow, and change from who they were to someone better, learning about themselves as they go along. When Hoffman wanted her character to be rude, the character was; happy, sad, determined… You could feel everything with the characters.

But I had such a difficult time reading this one. There were no chapters, only four parts – which made it a long story with no breathing room. It was getting to the point where my attention was wandering and I wanted to skim the pages, which I barely refrained from doing. There was no separation between scenes from the past, present, and future; it’s reading memories as each of the characters are in focus, or what’s to come later. And no differentiation between characters, either. And for me, that’s a huge fault, and it took away from the book. I hate to say it, but if I’d read the book first, I may have never had the urge to watch the movie. And I own the movie on VHS and DVD.

However, I thought the feelings and lessons learned were beautiful. How each learned to love, forgive, forget, changing themselves into a better person, is the best part of the story. I’m rating this one 3.5 stars – I say read it and come to your own conclusions.

Rating: star ratingstar ratingstar rating.5


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