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Practical Magic (Practical Magic #1)

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  36,414 Ratings  ·  2,597 Reviews
The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted,
Paperback, Reissue, 286 pages
Published August 5th 2003 by Penguin (first published 1995)
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Emily A. I like both. However, I wish the movie followed the book. I really like the older versions of Antonia and Kylie, and Gillian gets a better plot.
Rose Ann If you are desperate to read this book, you can always see if it's available at your public library.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: womens-fiction, 2017
*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—it’s also a book. 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 m
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it
[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
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
“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 t
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.
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of Adult Fairytales
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Theresa
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 si
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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 (Back to the Books)
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
Nov 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, fiction
DNF @ 25%. Sorry, Ms. Hoffman, but it is too YA for me...
I just love this book, really. It makes me smile just to think about it. I've read it twice now, and in a year or so will be ready for a re-read. The movie is good, too, but I love the book best, An Utterly Delightful novel about the magic of life.

From the Publisher
Practical Magic is a tale of two sisters, Gillian and Sally Owens, brought up by their two elderly guardian aunts in a world of spells and exotica from which they eventually escape - one by running away, the other by marrying - but wh
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I have seen the movie Practical Magical several times, the last time was actually today, the day after I finished the book for the first time. Well, I did start watching the movie before I started the book. However, I decided to read the book before I finished the movie. I had a very good reason for that. I have a copy of the prequel to the Practical Magic book (The Rules of Magic) and I wanted to read Practical Magical before I started the new book.

This is one of those times when the book is n
Mandy Jo
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 call
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved fairy tales. Call it clinging to childhood, Peter Pan syndrome,whatever. The magical realm has seen me through from the dreams of childhood to the wishful thinking of adolescence to the often harsh realities that are part and parcel of being an adult.
Practical Magic is the story of three generations of the Owens women.The aunts, elderly sisters who take in and raise their orphaned nieces. Feared and often publicly shunned,but furtively sought after in the gloaming of the da
Spider the Doof Warrior
May 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-love-this-book
So I read this book again. It's way better than the movie. I like this book even though it has things I hate like instalove. Like some dude sees a chick and is all like oooo. And she's all like ooooo and they are all like IT'S TRUE LOVE WE ARE IN LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Which is a bit annoying.

But, in this somewhat magical book it works and it's not as if you have someone who stays in love with someone terrible. They soon learn they can do better and deserve more.

This book centers around witch
I totally loved the beginning. Really enjoyed her writing (my first Hoffman novel) and the magical realism aspects of this, but then it became a little too far-fetched for me. I'd classify this as a fun beach read, but I was looking for more from this author, so I'm a bit disappointed in this one. I am looking forward to seeing the film, though, which I will probably like better than the book in this case.
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
As we're nearing the release of The Rules of Magic , let's look back to where it all began. Back in the 90's when I was but a wee lass, there was Practical Magic. Which wasn't just a book – it became a beautiful movie too! In fact, that's how I come to know this wonderful story of Alice's – through seeing the movie when I was a child, or maybe a teen.

(if the images don’t load, you can read this post on my blog.)

And then we waited for years, without even knowing we were waiting.

I was really ex
Amanda Nuñez
Dec 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I freely admit that I saw Griffin Dunne's film adaptation before reading the novel itself, so I had high expectations. What I'm about to say next is rare for me: I was actually very disappointed with this book. Yes, it delved nicely into the intricate relationships between the sisters, their aunts, the psychotic boyfriend, etc., but the fact of the two sisters being witches was barely mentioned, much less any detail regarding their magical abilities. This was one of -- if not THE -- main reasons ...more
Arielle Walker
Some books weave a magic like dappled afternoon forest light. Others are darker, moon-streams and midnight.

And some simply feel dark and old and full of despair. This was the third kind.

I expected something so different that I can't tell how much of my reading was coloured by that shock of realisation: this is not a nice book. It's full of sad, broken people living sad broken lives filled with superstition that comes true, self prophetising. The writing is cloying, claustrophobic, slipping tense
Claire Beresford
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
For the first time ever in the world of book to film I thought the film was much better. I liked the nice aunts and the fact that Sally and Gillian stayed in their home town. However, without comparing it to the film, it was an enjoyable read; great depth that the film did not give. It was presented from all sides, including the new generation in Sally's children, this gives you an inside scoop to everyone's thoughts and actions. I believe the characters gets a little boring in the middle of the ...more
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
A recurring theme with the books I choose to read is that they more often than not have a film adaptation to accompany them. I know this isn't the best literary habit, and that I should be willing to branch out more into plots and subjects that interest me instead of seeking out the books that I am already familiar with in visual media, but often it follows that the book is better than the movie anyways, so it's a win-win situation. That was the case with this book. Purchased at a used book sale ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

Different from the movie, though I can see why, and both are enjoyable.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

I admit I picked this up just because I have seen the movie and wanted to compare the two.

I found this book a bit dull to start with and I struggled to get into it. I can't stand insta-love. And this book is all about insta-love. Granted it is about two beauuutiful witches, that drive men crazy, but still. Other than this not much seems to happen in the first half of the book.

However after trudging through the first part of the book, it started to pick up and I found myself immersed en
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2009
I wanted some light reading to get though January especially since the last book I read was an 800 Dickens novel, and this book fit the bill perfectly. I even ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would! It had just the right amount of what I guess would be called magical realism, and I loved the imagery (two sisters growing up in a run down mansion with two old aunts, it sounds like an Edward Gorey book!) and the moodiness. It seemed like there was a thunderstorm gathering in ever scene, w ...more
1996, January 1

This is one of my favorite Hoffman stories, because who wouldn't like to live in a charming little town and be a witch? No girl who grew up watching Bewitched could refuse it. Also, I'm a sucker for big old houses. Why yes, the movie did strongly influence my memory of the story.

2016, January 5

Wow. I didn't remember the book at all, just the movie. They are different, but both isd successful in its own way.
Darth J
Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic is one of those rare occurrences where the source material is only used as a basis for the movie and then the movie is actually better because of it.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ebook
This was a lot darker then the movie, which I saw a long time ago. It's plot is also expended, I don't remember (view spoiler) If you are Ok with something different from the movie it was an enjoyable read and being different, was a good thing for me because I didn't know what was going to happen. Solid book and would make a nice Halloween read.
☕ Kimberly
I read this previously and enjoyed listening. RTC
Even though I've read this book a few times before, it's just as good as the first time.

Alice Hoffman has what I call a cinematic style of bringing fairy-tale-like narrations to contemporary story and setting, specifically New England. So it's no surprise when this book was turned into a movie not long after publication. As a matter of fact, the movie is better known than the book. There are people who still don't know that it's only an adaptation.

-    What I've always liked about this book
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

This book was a mixed bag for me.On the one hand, I pretty much dig the writing style and the mood that Alice Hoffman sets in this one. I tend to like magic realism, and this is the "chick lit" version. It was another seasonal fall read for me, and I was pretty receptive to what it had to offer. It seems like a good book for cooling weather & lengthening nights.

I also enjoyed the family element, and all the relationships between women. The book dealt (fairly compassionately) with i
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Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York ...more
More about Alice Hoffman...

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“Sometimes the right thing feels all wrong until it is over and done with.” 2060 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.” 885 likes
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