Customer Reviews


329 Reviews
5 star:
 (179)
4 star:
 (66)
3 star:
 (48)
2 star:
 (15)
1 star:
 (21)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall in love whenever you can . . .
That is an admonishment at the end of this wonderful book by Alice Hoffman. I'll preface my mini-review here with the following statement: Had anyone told me a year ago that I would read --in one day-- a romance about lives and loves of successive generations of women blessed or cursed with witchy powers, I would have laughed at them. A few years back, I tried to watch...
Published on September 30, 2002

versus
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice read, but the movie was more magical
If you liked the movie and then decided to check out the book like me, you were probably, dissapointed. This isn't that good of a book. And it is depressing in some parts, especially the parts about Antonia and Kylie. I did like the parts with the Aunts and I wish they had been in there more. The movie was beautiful and magical, and the book was pretty much ho hum...
Published on May 27, 2001 by Mariah Richards


‹ Previous | 1 2 333 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and Emotional, May 19, 2006
This review is from: Practical Magic (Paperback)
Much like the other reviewers, I only came to this book after falling in love with the film adaptation. It is entirely impossible for me to discern which of the two is better- I'll leave that distinction up to you! My preference seems to really depend on the mood I am in.

For those of you who are unacquainted with the film, I can tell you that this is a highly enjoyable, but at times heart-wrenching story. This is especially so in the novel. It tackles heavy subject matter, including death, lust, the pains of adolescence, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. This story follows the lives of several characters as they move through life, always trying to run from their past and their upbringing, but never quite winning the battle, no matter how hard they try. What makes this gritty story so special though, is the magic that weaves in and out of the lives of these characters. The author presents this magic as completely matter of fact. It is just a part of the lives and world of these character, whether they buy into it or not, making it more a fascinating part of the setting than a spotlight in the story. Those who have viewed the film know that magic is essential to the plot in many ways, and is one of the main focuses of the film, but in the novel, we can see that it plays second fiddle to the intimate details of these characters' lives.

Overall, I was impressed with the scope of this story and the messages that rang true over and over as I flew through the pages. This story is intense, dark, tense, and sensual - a very enjoyable combination. If you like a good dollop of witchiness with your tea and often find a little bit of magic interspersed into your own life, you will certainly be in good company here.

The only reason the book gets four stars is because I was at times a bit distracted by the author's writing style. It takes an imaginative reader to make it through this story. The way the author writes is very blunt. She spells the plot out for you, but seems to struggle with spreading descriptive information seamlessly into the work. Sometimes there is beautiful prose describing a scene or a sensation a character is feeling, but other times, the words simply guide the reader through a progression of events. If the author had been able to integrate more detailed description into the overall plot, this novel could have been improved.

Still, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book, especially to anyone who likes emotional stories with a solid plot and a basis in magical realism.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed!, November 23, 1999
I saw the movie before I read the book and I absolutely loved the movie. I decided to try the book. It was one of the most fascinating reading experiences I have ever embarked upon. There are only two other authors who bring me that depth of involvement-- Madeleine L'Engle and Lucy Maud Montgomery. But Hoffman has a narrative style that makes me think that this is a story that one should read aloud or hear from someone. She captures you from beginning to end with the weave of narrative. I read each section of the book without stopping within a section. To have stopped in a section would have taken away from the narrative flow.
It is best to look at the book and the movie as two separate stories. They must be told differently because they are different media. The movie medium is sound and pictures, so the narrative cannot be the same as the book, a medium which relies on words. You could not have translated Hoffman's story as it was into a movie. This is why I'm glad that the movie is so much different than the book. Each is a good story on its own and could have only been told the way it was in the medium it was produced in.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, March 13, 2006
This review is from: Practical Magic (Paperback)
I have enjoyed more than one of Alice Hoffman's books, but this may be my favorite.

I was swept up in the story immediately and finished the book in three nights. The story is about family life, and how love can drive people to extremes.

The author's style really shines in this book. Her descriptions of flowers, trees, smell, the weather are utterly poetic. There is a magical quality to Hoffman's writing that I absolutely love.

I highly recommend this book whether or not you have read any of Alice Hoffmans other novels.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange, sweet, frightening, magical, April 24, 2001
Don't expect this book to be anything like the movie. The movie took the characters' names, some of their personality traits, and a couple of plot lines and mixed them up into an unrecognizable parody of this amazing book. That's not to say the movie was all bad. I might have liked it more if I hadn't read this book first and loved it so much.
Practical Magic tells the story of the Owens' women whose bad luck with men is notorious. It would be difficult to give a short summary of the plot since it is interjected with little anecdotes from the lives of ancestors, the girls who grow up(Sally and Gillian) under their aunts' (more or less) care, and Sally's daughters.
As usual, Hoffman paints the tale with beautiful descriptions and a wonderful narrative. One of my favorite parts is the the description of the lilacs and the effect they have on other people in the town.
I highly recommend this book. Not all of Hoffman's books are as good, but this is one of her best. See my review of "Turtle Moon" as well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The movie was better, and the movie didn't thrill me., April 17, 2009
By 
This review is from: Practical Magic (Paperback)
You've read the summary, so I'll just cut to the chase. First of all, loved, loved, loved Hoffman's 'voice' and use of language: Gillian's passion for her new biology teacher lover melts all the butter in the house, a woman pounds on her lover's door until she literally breaks her hand -- Hoffman is very good at powerful, evocative images, at gliding on the surface and gazing at the tempestuous emotions below her.

However, everything else about this novel began to irritate me before long. Hoffman was obsessed with pairing everyone up, down to the last obnoxious teenager, and the only romance that held any appeal for me was the one between Gillian and Ben. Gary (Sally's love interest) was boring and entered the story much too late for me. (He doesn't seem to be a very good investigator, either.) Also, the swearing seemed unnecessary, as if it came out of a different book. I might try Hoffman again, but I won't be re-reading this one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but I wouldnt go as far as fantastic, January 3, 1999
By A Customer
I am an 8th grader, and I read this book after hearing about the film Practical Magic. Everyone probably thinks this story is mostly about witchcraft, but it doesnt really emphasize on it considering Hoffmann doesnt know that much about it. But overall, it is a fairly good story, about the bonds betweenm these very different sisters and their lives. But the characters were rather undeveloped, and you hardly find any information about who the hell these people are. And the characters personalities were rather bland, because first, there was Gillian, wild, sexy, Sally, plain, Antonia, beautiful, and Kylie, awkward. Women are no simple creatures, and are made of all different elements. If Hoffmann really does understand the feelings of her female readers (which i believe are all of the readers) this should show in her writing. A great story, but these are not very realistic characters. Women want someone they can relate to. If the author followed this form, I believe the book would've had much more praise than it recently has.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Magic, January 31, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Practical Magic (Paperback)
I had seen a movie on TV of the book and I liked it so well I wanted to read the whole book to see what I was missing.

The book was as enjoyable as the movie and more.

Pat Rose
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Magic, September 22, 2000
By A Customer
As a faithful reader of Alice Hoffman for years, this is her most fantastic book ever. I've read all her books, and are currently half-way through her newest release "River King", I must say that it seems hard to outstand "Practical Magic". The film was entertaining, but the script was changed in too many ways, I guess we all make up the settings in books differently. For new Alice Hoffman readers, I would recommend to start with "Practical Magic" and then read her earlier and later books. She has something in her books that really appeal to me, making the magic seem so ordinary, and the ordinary seem so magic. Alice Hoffman really knows how to drag you into her world and make you stay - the books are just too exiting to put away. Try them - enjoy!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hoffman's Best!, June 5, 2006
By 
This review is from: Practical Magic (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoy all of Alice Hoffman's work. She has a way of turning phrases into works of magic. Her 11th novel, PRACTICAL MAGIC, may be her best work to date. In this novel she explores the lives of two sisters who share one powerful secret, the gift of magic. They bring their powers together not just to ease their own unhappiness and cover up a deadly mistake, but also to bind them together after life has torn them apart. The movie version is extremely entertaining and one of my favorite movies, but if you have only seen the movie don't miss out on the reading experience. Hoffman's power with the English language is a remarkable achievement, maybe even magical!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Agreed., February 27, 2012
The characters are one dimensional. I don't want to be yet another "broken record" repeating what's already been said but I have to say this: the movie captures the title "practical magic" better than the book does. I never thought I'd see the day when a movie would out-do the book!

The movie captures the essence of magic, whereas the novel tries to give "magical advice," but still comes across as bland. The movie is a lot more whimsically inclined and loyal to the title.

*possible spoilers as I compare it to the movie*

The book is a lot more vulgar and crass. Simplistic in its narration and lacking in the depth of the characters and plot.

Jimmy is never even alive in the book (save for his ghost, of course) he was a woman-beater and never really in love with Gillian. Just as insecure and simplistic as she was but just more aggressive about it.

Gillian was a blonde (not a redhead) and ditzy to boot! Her self esteem and confidence were non-existent. The movie showed her in a more dignified manner -- and that's pretty bad.

Sally was supposed to be the rational and structured one (according to the book AND movie), and she was for the first few chapters, then she deteriorates to an insecure mother who behaves like childishly at times.

Antonia is a complete simpleton brat throughout the majority of the book.

There's a scene with Kylie almost getting raped.

The men are all the same. With only one thing in their mind. Unlike the movie which gives them some form of character.

The aunts actually age... etc

I could go on, but my point is... the book is a lot less like magic and more like real life drama with simplistic narration to it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 333 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Practical Magic
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
$10.69
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.