Mandy Jo's Reviews > Practical Magic

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
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Sep 12, 11

bookshelves: nineties-nostalgia
Read in August, 2010

This week’s headline? Call the corners

Why this book? break for fiction

Which book format? used first edition

Primary reading environment? on the couch

Any preconceived notions? love the movie

Identify most with? right now, Sally

Three-word quote? “years of practice”

Goes well with? vegan ice cream

Fans of the Sandra Bullock movie will be pleased to know that, although there are many disparities between the novel and the screenplay, margaritas are definitely present in the book.

Granted, they’re not called Midnight Margaritas. There’s no spell/recipe for their preparation. They aren’t even an Owens family tradition. They are simply shared between two sisters under an evening sky.

Still, they are practically magical margaritas.

When a book is made into a movie, we often make an unfair comparison: “not as good as the book,” as though the book and movie were in competition with one another.

A book is both blessed and burdened by its reliance on the imagination. A movie can build on its source, can tease out connections and make them visibly obvious in ways a novel never should.

A film adaptation is almost like a book’s younger sibling.

Alice Hoffman created a world in which all the women born into a family have gray eyes, where the specter of a dead lover can haunt an entire summer, and sisters who are unlucky in love still have each other.

Then the cute little movie comes along, and the beautiful cast and talented crew get to play in that world, drawing on the strength of the novel that came before, but also taking the time to discover treasures overlooked in the initial act of creation.

So the movie witches secure their tresses in long braids resting softly against well-worn cardigans, cackle demonically and mutter incantations about Barbados lime while pouring tequila into a blender, and use their brooms to do some women’s work and sweep the debris of a man out of their lives for good.

My own little sister just swooped into town, along with her exotic (but not abusive, or undead) boyfriend.

We drank margaritas.

Other cultural accompaniments: Practical Magic (1998), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Rita’s on the River in San Antonio

Grade: B+

I leave you with this: “Night and Day, the aunts called them, and though neither girl laughed at this little joke or found it amusing in the least, they recognized the truth in it, and were able to understand, earlier than most sisters, that the moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep.”
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message 1: by ambie (new)

ambie Love the last part about the moon and sun.


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