Today I wanted to revisit one of my favorite magical stories and movies!!
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman!!
Practical Magic – The BookTitle: Practical Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Putnam Adult, Warner Bros.
Publication date: June 13th 1995
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Paranormal
Length: 244 Pages
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
The bestselling author of Second Nature, Illumination Night and Turtle Moon now offers her most fascinating and tantalizingly accomplished novel yet — a winning tale that amply confirms Alice Hoffman’s reputation not only as a genius of the vivid scene and unforgettable character but as one of America’s most captivating storytellers.
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 sisters grow determined to escape their strange upbringing by blending into “normal” society.
But both find that they cannot elude their magic-filled past. And when trouble strikes — in the form of a menacing backyard ghost — the sisters must not only reunite three generations of Owens women but embrace their magic as a gift — and their key to a future of love and passion. Funny, haunting, and shamelessly romantic, Practical Magic is bewitching entertainment — Alice Hoffman at her spectacular best.
Favorite Quotes from the Book
“…they still won’t learn what Ben knows until they fall head over heels in love. When they don’t care if they make fools of themselves, when taking a risk seems the safest thing to do, and walking a tightrope or throwing themselves into the white-water rapids feels like child’s play compared with a single kiss, then they’ll understand.”
“Pride is a funny thing; it can make what is truly worthless appear to be a treasure. As soon as you let go of it, pride shrinks to the size of a fly, but one that has no head, and no tail, and no wings with which to lift itself off the ground.”
“One more lie and she’ll be truly lost, One more and she’ll never find her way back through the woods.”
“Although she’d never believe it, those lines in Gillian’s face are the most beautiful part about her. They reveal what she’s gone through and what she’s survived and who exactly she is, deep inside.”
“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.”
Practical Magic is the perfect blend of the real and the magical.
Starting with two orphaned girls being raised by their “unconventional” aunts…the book then blossoms into an examination of family relationships, true love, and what hope and belief really mean.
The relationships between the Aunts (Frances and Bridget-known as Jet), the girls (Sally and Gillian), and Sally’s children (Antonia and Kylie) develop and change over the 30 year or so time-span of the book in a way that is absolutely something beautiful. The growth of all of these characters, the hard lessons learned, the joy and wonder embraced…make it a treasure even aside from it’s magic.
But this book does indeed also have a very magical side. There is magic woven through the Owens family dating back hundreds of years. The Aunts actively practice love magic for the town’s women, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Sally and Gillian struggle though out their lives wavering between embracing what they are and rejecting it in the attempt to live a more normal life. By the conclusion, after one particularly hard lesson is learned, they seem to have found that balance…
Alice Hoffman’s writing is perfection. her books always envelop me and I never want them to end.
Note: I would have given this a full 5 stars if not for the element of animal sacrifice involved in the Aunts love magic.
All the lovely book covers!
I love them all and wanted to share!
Here are some of the many American versions:
And some International Versions:
Practical Magic – The MovieTitle: Practical Magic (1998)
Author: Alice Hoffman, Robin Swicord
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Publication date: October 16 1998
Target Audience: PG-13
Length: 1hr 44min
Buy It: Amazon|B&N
The wry, comic romantic tale follows the Owens sisters, Sally and Gillian, as they struggle to use their hereditary gift for practical magic to overcome the obstacles in discovering true love.
Sally and Gillian Owens have always known they were different. Raised by their aunts after their parents' death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical--their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them the uses of practical magic. But the invocation of the Owens' sorcery also carries a price--some call it a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Now adult women with very different personalities, the quiet Sally and the fiery Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that threatens the lives of all the Owens women.
Favorite Quotes from the Movie
“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage!”
“And this is what comes from dabbling; I mean you can’t practice witchcraft while you look down your nose at it.”
“Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there’s a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon.”
“You ever put your arms out and spin really, really fast? She does? Well, that’s what love is like. It makes your heart race. It turns the world upside down. But if you’re not careful, if you don’t keep your eyes on something still, you can lose your balance. You can’t see what’s happening to the people around you. You can’t see that you’re about to fall.”
“Curses only have power when you believe them. And I don’t.”
“Trouble is just like love, after all; it comes in unannounced and takes over before you’ve had a chance to reconsider, or even to think.”
“It has power because you believe it does.”
“Every problem has a solution, although it may not be the outcome that was originally hoped for or expected.”
I watched this movie many years ago before reading the novel and then again last night after finishing the book. I am quite shocked to admit that although I have yet to find a movie version that surpasses the book–this one comes quite close.
The movie captures the essence of the book startlingly well although it does veer off in many aspects. A few examples:
- In the book Gillian is fully responsible for Jimmy’s death (or so we think) and in the movie it is actually Sally who kills him.
- In the book they simply bury him under the lilacs and in the movie they attempt to raise him with no good result.
- In the book Gillian also finds true love while in the movie we only see Sally’s relationship with Gary.
- In the book Jimmy haunts the house and it’s residents poltergeist style while in the movie he possesses Gillian.
Overall though, I honestly feel like the movie did a great job of bringing the magical elements and the heart/belief behind them to life.
Despite the fact that critics may not agree with me (Practical Magic is so underrated!) , I think that Practical Magic is practically perfect in every way!
Happy Halloween Everyone and just remember:
Melissa's 5 Star Review of Practical Magic by @ahoffmanwriter (Book & Movie)… Click To Tweet