Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

‘Always pour 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.’

Synopsis: Sisters Gillian and Sally Owens were brought up by their two elderly guardian aunts in a world of spells and exotica. As the magical charm of their childhood wears away, they escape from this mystical mayhem – one by running away, the other by marrying.

Many years go by before strange circumstances thrust them together again, and once more they’re in a place that blends the mundane and mysterious, the familiar and fantastic. Three generations of Owens women are brought together in an experience of unexpected insight and revelation, teaching all of them that such perceptions are rare and wonderful and – to be sure – practical.

Book Facts: This book was released in 1993 by Berkley. The copy I have was published by vintage books (random house U.K.). It has the most boring cover unfortunately;

but saying that it was lovely and floppy. I love a floppy book. This book is 279 pages long. I probably read this in about 6 hours. It currently has a 3.8 star rating on Goodreads. I’m giving this a 4 stars.

Review: Its so hard to review this book and not compare it to the 1999 film of the same name. It’s doubly hard because I’ve seen the film like 100 times. I pretty much know it line for line and I love it. I kind of feel like I can’t be objective in reviewing this just as the book because I love them film so much. But I am going to try.

This book is a slow burner. It isn’t action packed and certainly doesn’t have the spooky paranormal elements of the film. The book focuses far more around Sally’s children (who are teenagers in the book) rather than the aunts who take a real back step.

This book seems to be an exploration of family relationships and moulding who we want to be. It’s a book written about the shit that life throws at you and who will be there to wipe you clean afterwards. I like that it explored more of the characters than I thought it would and didn’t just confine itself to the narrative of the two main protagonists.

I also felt the witch element seemed a lot more realistic in the sense that it was herbal rather than magical powers. These women made their own fates. The whole storyline was like something you could imagine happening in your own town. It wasn’t over far fetched.

I feel like the book isn’t as in your face feminist as the film was but has subtle themes that are pretty empowering. One of the things I love about the film is all women united together, which this book doesn’t lack but isn’t as forthright with. Overall this book did give me the same warm feeling that the film does. I can see why people who love the film don’t like the book as much but I guess it’s one of those things. This book though slow was raw and emotional. I’m glad I fought my way through the beginning because it was a beautiful book.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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