Book Review #4: Practical Magic

When choosing our book for October, the girls of No Boys Allowed Reviews decided that we wanted to read something witchy, something whimsical, something Halloween-y. We settled upon Alice Hoffman’s 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.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.”

And for our discussion, we created a very elaborate plan.

As one of our number lives in Salem, MA (Witch City, USA), we thought we’d congregate at her house for a sleepover and do it up right: pajama party; pillow fight; midnight margaritas; taking a photo downtown with the Bewitched statue (which is such an affront to the serious history that happened in the area that it’s almost funny); light as a feather, stiff as a board; carelessly playing with a Ouija board and unintentionally summoning up an evil, vengeful spirit that we wouldn’t be able to control – you know, the usual.

In reality, none of our plans came to fruition (considering the last item on our list, perhaps this was for the best. I don’t think English majors are adequately prepared to deal with unhappy ghosts and horror movie scenarios. I can see us now: “Do you think, maybe, a cup of tea would calm it down?” I can’t imagine any of us would survive the night. Well, maybe Victoria. She is a black belt. The rest of us, though? We’d surely be doomed). We did meet in Salem, but we didn’t stray too far from the living room. We failed at midnight margaritas. Instead, each of us indulged in a much more tame 8 o’clock glass of red wine. We called up the members unable to be with us in person on video chat, and we talked about the book… for about 5 minutes total. Everything was tangential, nothing was serious, everything was silly, and our focus wore thin. It was one of those kind of nights.

Then, we dilly-dallied in actually writing our reviews. More than two weeks later, we still don’t have a complete set. Due to a busy work schedule, Victoria will be absent from our blog post this month (but never absent from our hearts). We thought about threatening her in order to get the review in time, but given her black belt status we thought it best to just let it slide…

So what’s the deal? Does our tardiness come from a lack of passion about the reading material? Did Alice Hoffman’s novel fail to captivate our attention? Or, do we have only ourselves to blame? Read ahead to find out more!
(Meg’s up first this week, on page 2!)

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One Response to Book Review #4: Practical Magic

  1. Pingback: Books I Read This Month | Observations of a Part-Time Book Seller

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