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Practical Magic

(Practical Magic #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  110,760 ratings  ·  10,017 reviews
When the beautiful and precocious sisters Sally and Gillian Owens are orphaned at a young age, they are taken to a small Massachusetts town to be raised by their eccentric aunts, who happen to dwell in the darkest, eeriest house in town. As they become more aware of their aunts' mysterious and sometimes frightening powers -- and as their own powers begin to surface -- the ...more
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published June 13th 1995 by Putnam Adult
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Mandie Thompson Personally, I hated the book. For me, it's one of the very very rare instances where the movie is better. For one thing, the two are nothing alike. Th…morePersonally, I hated the book. For me, it's one of the very very rare instances where the movie is better. For one thing, the two are nothing alike. The characters have the same names, and that's about it. I couldn't even finish the book because I didn't recognize even a thread of connection to the movie that I love so much.(less)
Rose Ann If you are desperate to read this book, you can always see if it's available at your public library. …moreIf you are desperate to read this book, you can always see if it's available at your public library. (less)

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This is one of those rare examples of the movie being better than the book. Yeah. I somehow managed to get through it, but this book was like one never-ending series of mood-setting lists. An example:

"Sally thought long and hard each time she hung up the phone. She thought about the girl in the drugstore and the sound of Antonia’s footsteps on the stairs when she went to bed without a good-night hug. She thought about Michael’s life and his death, and about every second they had spent together.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, womens-fiction
*3.75 stars*

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it wasn’t until I read my first Alice Hoffman novel last year (The Museum of Extraordinary Things) that I realized Practical Magic was more than just a swoon-worthy movie I’d watched a dozen times over. With numerous viewings under my belt and the upcoming release of the prequel, The Rules of Magic, I figured now was as good of a time as any to dive in and give this a read. I mean how could I not, the book is always better than the movie, right?

Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️
I know it’s reader sacrilege to say this...but, I like the movie better.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I guess I have changed.

I have my little paperback copy I got and read years ago. And of course I found it after I bought the one with the cool boot on the front 🙄

Anyway, I loved the book so much back then and now it's just meh! I still love the movie but something just didn't get me as pulled in as before. Oh well. It's still good.

Mel ❤️
Rereading with my Retro Chapter Chicks as we eagerly await Magic Lessons!!

During the last few months of last year I had been eagerly awaiting Alice Hoffman's new book Rules of Magic. I had read new books by some of my go to authors for magical realism, which had left a bitter taste in my mouth because these books were contemporary and devoid of magical occurrences. Rules of Magic, while not necessarily magical realism, was simply magical. As soon as I finished reading the tale of Frances and Je
You put de lime in de coconut...


And that's really the scene that I remember from the movie. Which, I had no idea came from a book back in 1998.
So, I thought I should remedy that during this Halloween season.
I'm going to be honest, I'd heard this sucked in comparison to the movie, and maybe that made me go into it with lower expectations.


But I really liked it. It's different, though, no doubt. But it was different in a way that I enjoyed. In fact, I liked the book better than I did the movie. For
Angela M (On a little break)
I read The Rules of Magic a few years ago without having read this one which was written before it. I was recently thinking about Alice Hoffman’s new novel Magic Lessons to be published in October, 2020, and I decided that I should read this one before I get to the advanced copy that I am fortunate enough to have. I discovered that it didn’t really matter when in time I was reading about the Owens family because I loved them all the same, no matter which generation. I needed a little of Alice Ho ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, challenge
This one is a hard one to review. I think most know the movie Practical Magic. I love this movie as I'm sure that most do. Everytime it's on, I watch it. Does not matter at what time I catch it, I watch till the end and swoon. When I started watching the movie, initially, I had no idea it was based on a book. So for years now I've been wanting to read this one. But then I see the movie is on and watch it. But the prequel is coming out and I have a copy and figured it's time I read it.

Let me just
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this. Practical Magic is just that: MAGIC!

I was so captivated, I was able to read it in a weekend. The writing is beautiful.

Hoffman has such a pleasing style; just gorgeous. This was the first novel that I have read of hers and it definitely will not be the last.

It is quite different from the movie version, but stands strong in its own right.

I did picture Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in my head the whole time though. In short, if you haven't read this, you should!

Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is 2003 Penguin publication. (Originally published in 1995)

When I heard Hoffman was releasing a ‘prequel’ to Practical Magic, this past year, I knew I wanted to read it, but before I did, I needed to reacquaint myself with this book.

I read this book a long, long time ago, even before the movie was released. But, the book was something entirely different from the movie, which is a very charming and delightful adaptation, in my opinion. ‘You put the lime in the co
Justin Tate
The first clue that this was going to be a slog was the two audio versions. Unabridged, the running time is 9 hours 12 minutes. The abridged version is a mere 3 hours 6 minutes. As a general rule, if you can cut 70% of your book and it’s still coherent, that’s not a good sign.

Unfortunately the purist in me had to listen to the unabridged version. Now that it’s over, I can confirm that 70% could easily be cut. Probably more.

That’s not to say the entire experience was terrible. Hoffman is clearly
“The lesson Sally had learned so long ago in the kitchen—to be careful what you wish for—was so far and so faded it had turned to yellow dust. But it was the sort of dust that can never be swept up, and instead waits in the corner and blows into the eyes of those you love when a draft moves through your house.”

It’s only recently that I left Hoffman’s world in ”The Rules of Magic,” and so I returned to that world of the Owens family, to pick up where I’d left off, with a return to the home of
“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.”

in this story, the troubled lives of two generations of owens women are at the forefront. there’s sally and gillian, two sisters who couldn’t be more different, trying to find their place in the world. almost two decades later, the same occurs for sally’s teenage daughters, antonia and kylie.

Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My fear about this was I wouldn’t get on with the magical realism element. However that wasn’t a problem. The problem was more my feeling that it lacked a raison d’etre. For a long time it felt like a story was continually being set up but never quite happening. I’ve never seen the film but have a hunch it might be better than the novel because there’s a lot of padding in the book, lots of asides. Essentially a light and fun read, intelligent chick lit (every male character in this book is a lov ...more
Elatsoe Stan
[Review written by my high school self]
I used to love the movie for this book, and I didn’t even know until after I had seen it that it was originally in book form. After finally getting a copy of the book and reading it, something magical happened: I didn’t know which one I liked better. Usually, having to decide favorites between the book and the movie is very easy. Except in the case of Grisham's The Pelican Brief, I almost always prefer the book versions. In some cases (as with Gone with th
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time in my reading life that I can say that the movie is better than the book. I honestly wish that I'd read the book first, because the monumental let down of reading the book after the movie has been something I cannot reconcile. The movie is beautiful, the storyline is engaging and witty, and the characters draw you in and make you laugh and cry. Yet the book is so far removed from the movie, they are hardly relatable at all, with such flimsy linkages, you could actually see ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always like a bit of magic so I enjoyed this book very much, my only disappointment being that Sally and Gillian did not embrace their powers and use them! At least the aunts knew how to mix up a really good potion and cast an appropriate spell when necessary.

I enjoy the way Hoffman writes. Her characters are well rounded and likable, and her descriptions of things like the rampant lilac and hordes of toads in the garden are gorgeous.

Altogether a very readable, entertaining piece of nonsense.
Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️
Very different from the movie!

The following ratings are out of 5:
Narration: 🎧🎧🎧🎧
Romance: 🖤💜💚🤎💙
Heat/Steam: 🔥🔥🔥
Story/Plot: 📙📕📗📘
World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎🌍
Character development: 🤕🤬🤯😲

If you have seen the movie, you know it is about the curse on the Owen’s family with the main romance between Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gary (Aiden Quinn) with Gillian (Nicole Kidman) being a main character but not in a romance, only getting out of a bad relationship in a magical way. The book was that and so much more.

For t
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming, wicked. But also superficial and almost too flighty to take seriously or to dismiss as a prolonged adult fairy tale outright. The characters are all indisputably unique, so why do they sound exactly the same, with that similar tone of... Dullness? Being a witch is just SOO normal! Er, practical! The story jumps around like some impatient child, from characters to images (the aura of plants, the craziness of toads and cats, the thunderbolts of love) with little consideration for a reade ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
A lifetime favorite type of book. My heart is bursting at the seams!!!!

CW: bullying, animal abuse, abortion, death of a loved one, domestic abuse, food shaming, sexual assault, suicide
Alice Lippart
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020, fantasy
Enjoyable, magical and made me feel very nostalgic.
Mike (the Paladin)
I was a little hesitant about the rating to give this book. There are what I would call, good moments. Mostly I don't care for it. There is an odd streak of amorality underlying it (I can just hear someone asking "who's morals are you talking about"). You have the two old ladies referred to as "the aunts" who raise a young girl to be selfish, obstinate, and rebellious (treating these as the best of good desirable traits) and then wondering that tragedy follows. There are shifting personalities i ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress
This is a really good book. I couldn't put it down. It's good as many genres, coming of age, romance, fantasy, family drama, all of the above. It's so well-written and the language is beautiful and affecting. The words painted an image that was vivid and alive in my mind. Strangely enough, I pictured Sandra Bullock, who plays her in the movie, as Sally. I loved the extended narrative about Sally's daughters, which was missing from the movie. It seems as though they are going to repeat the patter ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Remember being addicted to dark fairytales like Aesop’s & Grimm’s as a kid? Then at around ten figuring it’s time you grew up, setting them aside & heading over to the library teen section? Have you missed them all these years? Check out magical realism. Hey, the same twisted supernatural tales, riddled with conflict & hidden meanings –repackaged for grownups!
Practical Magic was published long before another of this genre I just read - Garden Spells - they’re both good and pretty similar. Quirk
Margaret M - semi hiatus  (With lots of catching up to do)
I read Practical Magic many years ago and re-read very quickly just to reacquaint myself with the characters, and themes at play because I have started reading Rules of Magic, the prequel. However, I have been asked what I thought of Practical Magic, so here are some thoughts and I will review the Rules of Magic properly when I finish reading.

In summary, I don’t think you will be missing much if you pass on this one. Having now started the Rules of Magic, I can say that already the character and
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
★★ /5

This was fine… I guess?!?
I defiantly see the appeal of this book, the premise is interesting, but execution let me down. I as a lot of people had seen the movie based on this book, so I had some sort of understanding of what should happen in this book, but sadly my hopes didn’t come true. Sadly, this book was really boring and full of filler content, literally, you can skip 70 percent of this book and you will not miss anything. The structure of this book was all over the place, and even th
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review now posted!

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Some people love Halloween, but don’t enjoy being frightened. This book is perfect for them; its magical and uncanny and feels perfect for fall. There are ghosts, supposed witches, magical gardens, and lots of black cats. And the entire story revolves around the women of the Owens family, their unusual attractiveness and their troubles with love. Even though the story transpires over years and every season, it feels quintessentially autumnal. There is a
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

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.

I remember watching this movie about a billion and a half years ago and not particularly loving it all that much. The book, however . . . . .

Why the hell didn’t I knock this off the TBR sooner? I even owned the damned thing!

This is the story o
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The tone of this book could not be more perfectly suited to its subject matter. Alice Hoffman’s writing style is reminiscent of a fairy tale. From the very first page, I was hooked, not because the story was action-packed or because it kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next, but because it was enchanting and immersive. I wanted to sink into this fantasy world and never leave. For the first thirty pages, as Hoffman writes about Sally and Gillian’s childhood, my hopes were ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favorite movies, I constantly asked myself, "How have I never read this book?" Finally, I gave in to the Owens women...

Oh, this book was all that I wanted from this story. Completely different from the movie and a strong focus on the two main ladies- Sally and Gillian. Two sisters quickly orphaned and raised by their Aunts (two of my very favorite characters in this book!). The neighborhood in Massachusetts took every opportunity to make fun of these sisters as they ha
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Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew; The Marriage of Opposites; The Red Garden; The Museum of Extraordinary Things; The Dovekeepers; Here on Earth, an Oprah’s Book Club selection; and the Practical Magic series, including Practical
Magic; Magic Lessons; The Rules of Magic, a selection of Reese’s Book Club; and The Book of Magic. She liv

Other books in the series

Practical Magic (4 books)
  • Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1)
  • The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0.2)
  • The Book of Magic (Practical Magic, #2)

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Here at Goodreads World Headquarters, we're always on alert for any shifts in readerly attention that we can spot. Recently we've noticed a...
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“Sometimes the right thing feels all wrong until it is over and done with.” 2068 likes
“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.” 1136 likes
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