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Practical Magic | [Alice Hoffman]

Practical Magic

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Alice Hoffman's enchanting witch's brew of suspense, romance and magic - now a major motion picture from Warner Bros.

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.

©2012 Alice Hoffman (P)2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc

What the Critics Say

"Huffman's best since Illumination Night. (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (89 )
5 star
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3.6 (84 )
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Story
3.8 (83 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Joy Annapolis MD United States 12-27-12
    Joy Annapolis MD United States 12-27-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    186
    ratings
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    64
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    "All the characters were present"

    Practical Magic is one of my favorite movies. I've watched it more times than I can count and no matter how many times I watch it, I'm always entertained. With that said, it's also a testament to how Hollywood will take a story and twist it for the screen and box office. I did my best to keep an open mind while listening to the book and to take the story for what it was. As a story I was engaged but mostly because I wanted to see how the story played out. Parts of the story were in line with the movie and other parts explored other aspects of the characters. Overall I found the characters lacking and unexciting. Indications of paranormal skills were mostly eluded to and very little information about those skills was ever brought forth in the story. The Aunts played only a small part in the book and the magic they performed was nominal and rather anti-climactic. I've been going back and forth between giving the book a three or four star rating by taking the movie out of the equation, but in the end because the story lacked a fair amount of excitement and magic, a three is the best i could offer.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz Bogart, GA, United States 10-23-13
    Liz Bogart, GA, United States 10-23-13 Member Since 2010

    I'm 30 years old, from the east coast of America, and my favorite books are realistic, but stretch the truth and the laws of physics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cool story, but kind of bad writing"
    Any additional comments?

    I liked the movie version of this story when I was younger, so I gave the book a try with high expectations. Although the story was interesting and dramatic, and mostly lacked the usual kind of totally worn out, harlequin romantic, childish elements which plague the genre of contemporary fantasy, I thought the writing could have done the story a lot more justice, and, truth be told, the definitely Midwestern American accent of the narrator turned me off just a little bit, though she did a fine job.

    The way the author expressed the passage of time throughout the book made it feel like she was really trying to just fill in the necessary back story so she could get to the good part, even though the majority of the book was spent examining back story, in the coming of age and subsequent adulthood of three generations of a family. That made long stretches of the text sort of boring. There was a lot of seemingly disorganized temporal back and forth with a lack of emphasis on details that were necessary to make the reader understand what was going on when, and exactly what the author was trying to say, and some seemingly incomplete and vague ideas and events.

    The unreality of some of the things that happened as a result of the influence of the witches natural power made the story less believable and cohesive for me. A plastic counter top boiling under the elbows of a man who was so in love that he gave off too much heat, or any and all butter in a house always being in a melted state because one of the daughters under the home's roof was so in love, for example, these seemed to be narrative stabs at a childlike sense of superstitious wonder, and that could have worked really well.

    But to me, those playful details were always too obvious and dramatic, and took a lot of potential for immersion away from the story, making it more difficult for readers to believe in it. I mean, wouldn't a boiling counter top in a diner burn someone, or raise an eyebrow or two at least? Not to mention, that dude would have been dead from overheating! Most of the other elements in the tale had more of a base in reality and tones of seriousness, so lines like the above just seemed out of place.

    Another problem was the dominating emphasis on romance. A little romance in a story is good, but there are PLENTY of other stories where it's the main event, especially in this genre. A little more about the witches' magic and a little less about what men they were dealing with would have been more balanced. I liked the story, but that's partly because of the potential I saw in the ideas presented in it which didn't really pan out well, and because it wasn't just another desperate genre formula full of nothing but love and sex and outlandish paranormal creatures with thrown together, unlikely motivations. This wasn't THAT bad. All in all, it was okay.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audrey Waupaca, WI, United States 10-22-14
    Audrey Waupaca, WI, United States 10-22-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Not at all like the movie!!!"

    This movie has always been one of my favorites so I thought I'd enjoy the book. This was a total downer. It didn't have any of the humor the movie had.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JEANNINE 09-25-14
    JEANNINE 09-25-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't expext the movie story!"

    Not sure how they got the movie from this book. Other then the names of the characters nothing else is the same. While I adored the movie and the lighthearted feeling, the book goes in another direction, but I liked it just as well, just differently! In my head I was still picturing Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as the sisters. So just be warned to expext a great story just not one like the movie.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Norwalk, CA, United States 09-22-13
    Anthony Norwalk, CA, United States 09-22-13 Member Since 2011

    Antonavich

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "While I was pleased, I felt the story lacked..."

    While I was pleased, I felt the story lacked substance. I had watched the movie based on this book many times over the years. The book did not meet my expectations. The movie was a much better story. Usually, this is not the case.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audiobook Addict Chandler, AZ United States 07-16-13
    Audiobook Addict Chandler, AZ United States 07-16-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So slow it hurts"

    I admit that I got this book because of the movie. I figured the book is almost always better than the movie and that there are multiple places in the movie where plot points or details were truthfully unnecessary for the movie but hinted at greater development in the book.

    So with high hopes I began this book. However, after 2.5 hours it was still exposition and no action! After nearly 3 hours (1/3 of the book) I had had enough.

    I have read more than my fair share of show paced books but this one is the first one that I just gave up on. None of the characters are engaging enough to keep the reader's interest and reward his/her patience.

    In looking at other people's review's I'd like to believe that at some point something interesting happens, I however just don't care enough to suffer through anymore whiny grass is always greener characterization.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Alexandria, KY, United States 05-02-13
    Kathy Alexandria, KY, United States 05-02-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    60
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    "Witchy Aunties Raise Two Orphaned Sisters"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Practical Magic to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print version, but I think the audio version is probably equal to the print version. Very enjoyable!


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was a story about four generations of a witch family. I enjoyed how realistic the family dynamics were, even though this is a story about people with magical powers. Witchy aunties are tasked with raising two great-nieces after their parents are killed. The sisters are exposed to matters heretofore unknown to them. It is interesting to watch them grow into adults and see how they handled their lives in general. I loved how the ending of the book wraps up the story nicely.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    How the younger sisters reacted to one another after one of them escapes a dire situation. Very well done.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. However, the book was slightly too long to be completed in one day. The book was good enough that I was sad to see it end. I need to check and see what other books this author has written. Also, the narrator did a fabulous job and made the experience very pleasant, indeed!


    Any additional comments?

    The use of the "F" word was jarring in this family-type story. While an occasional use of the word could have been handled to great effect, the constant re-use of the word felt very jarring to me. It honestly felt like the author/reader were not used to the word, but it was put in the story for shock-value. I took a star off the rating for this alone. Otherwise, it would have received all five-stars from me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shirley 04-07-13
    shirley 04-07-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "i loved this book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes it actually held my attention all the way thru unlike a lot of books i have listened to which within 3 hrs lose me ...... this one held me and left me wanting more on this storyline


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Practical Magic?

    i loved it all


    What about Christina Moore’s performance did you like?

    all


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    it already has a movie


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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