Thursday, November 16, 2017

[Book Review] Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

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, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic...


I had pretty high expectations going into Practical Magic. I have heard nothing but good things but  other than it being a bit witch-y and about family I didn't know much about the plot. I never saw the movie either, so I went into the book completely blind. And I liked it! However, I did have some issues with the story.

The writing was really whimsical and fun to read. It felt almost like a fairy tale the way it's written. There's a lot of telling versus showing especially the first part of the book, but the writing was so easy to slip into that I didn't mind it. Between the writing, the setting, and the themes of the story it definitely feels like a perfect book to read in October or November. 

The characters fell a bit flat for me personally, they all have distinct personalities but everyone was a either a bit whiny or selfish and honestly it felt grating at times. If I didn't love the overall atmosphere of the book  I could have DNFed it. The saving grace for this book for me is the feeling of the book. Also, I would have enjoyed seeing more witch-y elements and less family drama. Or maybe at least have more witch-y elements and keep the rest. It just turned from this fun Charmed (the tv show) kind of vibe to a family drama about a woman and her two boring kids. 

The thing that really made me upset is the ending, which was not only rushed but super anticlimatic.  I was expecting this whole thing but it was over in a blink of an eye. I felt like I got to the end and was like, "That's it?" and that's a bummer because it had a lot of potential. 

I feel like I am bashing this book, but I don't feel like it deserves less than 3 stars. I enjoyed my time reading it and I enjoyed a lot of the elements but being the book is so short I would have liked more of the more fun supernatural-y elements I thought I was signing up for. Maybe this book was hyped up as this magic heavy story by people who I know liked it and my expectations were just too high.

Overall, I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. I'd easily pick up another book written by Alice Hoffman, her writing was gorgeous and so much fun to read. And I definitely plan on watching the movie soon so I can see how they did with the adaptation. I hear great things about the movie so I am pretty excited. 

Thanks for reading! 


  1. Ah bummer :( I was excited to hear about this one. Flat characters are the worst..

    1. Yeah! Between the characters and the lack of anything really exciting happening it was a bit anticlimactic. Which was a bummer. I’m hoping the movie is better!