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Practical Magic (Practical Magic #1)

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  36,023 Ratings  ·  2,551 Reviews
From the "New York Times" best-selling author of "The Dovekeepers."..
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 outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian
ebook, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Berkley Books (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.
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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  ·  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
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[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
“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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Spider the Doof Warrior
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.
Amanda Nuñez
Dec 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Claire Beresford
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
☕ Kimberly
I read this previously and enjoyed listening. RTC
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading Practical Magic.

This story is about the Owens family women who all seem to have special powers. Gillian and Sally are orphaned at a young age and go to live with their two elderly aunts in a Massachusetts town. The family has lived in the old and creepy house for over 200 years. The two girls are teased by other children who suspect they are witches. A bunch of black cats even follow the girls to school one day. Tired of being different Sally and Gillian long to escape
Season NicKruspe
Aug 16, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How can it be that a movie based on a book is better than the actual book? I recently rewatched Practical Magic and again fell in love with the sisters and their story. I found out it was a book and became excited and hoped the book would expand on the movie and talk about parts that were left out.
The book, was the Cliff's Notes version of the movie and actually was quite boring.
It starts off with poor, old Sally (even at the age of ten) feeling sorry for herself and realizing that she's just to
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this Alice Hoffman book because I had really enjoyed her novel, "The Red Garden" and wanted to read more by her. Years ago I saw the B-movie that was based on this, but the Practical Magic movie was so forgettable that I was able to read the book with fresh eyes.

It's the story of two young sisters whose parents are killed and they are adopted by their aunts, who have magic powers. The sisters have opposite personalities and very different ideas about men, love and family. When they
Mackey St
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews, favorites
This was first book to read by Alice Hoffman and now I suspect I will read all of her books in one quick, furious reading marathon. Her rhythm and cadence allows the reader to feel as though she is speaking directly to you, telling you a long, wonderful story, rather than you - the reader - plowing through a book. Hoffman is delightful, her characters full of quirk and charm. You want to know them, to be them and never let them go when you are finished. What more can a reader ask of an author or ...more
After watching the movie (which I loved) and hearing good and bad reviews about this book, I had my hopes up, but I was prepared for a letdown. Turns out I didn't need to prepare for a letdown, though, because Alice Hoffman delivers with this book. Her writing style is a little different from what I usually read, but the story was captivating, the characters enchanting, and the overall it was a gem. I can't believe it took me so many years to finally pick it up.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Practical Magic (2 books)
  • The Rules of Magic

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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.” 881 likes
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