45 Books In 2018 #36: Practical Magic By Alice Hoffman

The mid to late 90’s were a really great time to be a preteen girl who was vaguely into witches. Hocus Pocus had been a Halloween TV staple for a few years, the Halliwell sisters fought evil in San Francisco, Sabrina Spellman was learning how to use magic and four outcasts found friendship and terrifying power at a slumber party one night.

But none of those others stuck with me like Practical Magic did. I loved that movie, and it’s my Halloween time staple and has been for years. (With all apologies to the Sandersons, the Owens sisters would beat their asses.) So when I started my “Spooky books written by ladies” project for October (likely continuing well into November!) I figured I’d pick up the novel the movie is based on.

I really enjoyed the book, and I’ll always love seeing the way stories are tweaked and streamlined for their film versions. The book is a little sketchier and episodic than the movie, not to mention a good deal more in the realm of magical realism. The magic of the Owens family is more factual and subtle, and their outcast status much more pronounced.

But this is a lovely story about sisters, and family and love and the way people surprise you by being their for you. It’s also creatively written, reasonably honest about the tiny and big ways men hurt women and women excuse it or understand it in one another instinctively and do their best to heal it.

Also there’s magic and a lot of sex. It’s a pretty fun quick read that felt good on the icky fall nights that we’ve been having lately.

Up next is The Vampire Lestat, because, I mean, come on, we all knew that this was going to happen right?

Happy Halloween week!

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