Nenia Campbell's Reviews > Practical Magic

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
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Mar 06, 14

bookshelves: litry-fiction, magic-realism
Read from September 07 to 09, 2012

Some witches are scary. Some witches are bad-ass. And some witches are . . . cuddly.

Like many of the people who read this book, I found the film version to be much more enjoyable - which is surprising, because 99% of the time, it's the other way around (I could kill Hollywood for doing what they did to The Golden Compass). The film is more organized, better paced, and the characters are more likable.

One of the things that galled me in Practical Magic (the book) is that the characters are so fractured. It felt, to me, like the author spent so much time making her words sound pretty that she pretty much threw all sense of propriety to the wind in order to make her characters as interesting as possible. And they are interesting, but they are also incredibly selfish, annoying, spoiled, and . . . well, dumb.

I didn't like the fact that the aunts favored Gillian over Sally because Gillian enjoyed breaking the rules and Sally enjoyed keeping house. I didn't like the fact that the aunts basically spoiled Sally's children rotten when they stayed over, keeping all hours of the night and eating candy until they threw up. I especially didn't like Gillian, and how irresponsible she was.

Watching the characters grow and develop was a nice aspect of the book that got lost in the movie version, but I feel it was a necessary sacrifice. Gillian's and Sally's childhood makes up the first fourth of the book, and it gets a little tedious after a while reading about how magical things happen wherever they go, and how afraid everyone is of them just because cats happen to follow them around, and bits of roof fall on the heads of people they're mad at (seriously? I mean, people didn't think Harry Potter was scary, and he magicked a snake out of its cage and set it upon his cousin).

This was very well written and wasn't at all terrible, but it wasn't nearly as good as it could have been.

Also, the fact that every man wanted to rape Kylie once she became 'beautiful' was incredibly disturbing. And this was mentioned at least ten times. What the actual fuck.

2.5 to 3 stars.

My inner feminist is shaking her head and mourning the decline of feminism.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Nemo (the Moonlight Library) I've always wanted to read this. Still interested, but going to keep this wonderful review in mind. Thanks for sharing!


Nenia Campbell Aren't you sweet! Glad you enjoyed it!

I think if you take this book with a grain of salt and keep in mind that it really is nothing like the movie you'll like it fine. :)


Synesthesia I did not like the movie.


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