Practical Magicby Alice Hoffman
~ Goodreads ~
Rating: 2.5 Stars
For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back-almost as if by magic...
For so many reasons I couldn't quite pinpoint--and had required a long, thorough think--this book was both frustrating and fascinating at the same time. I went through a roller coaster of thinking: "Man, this book is not working for me" to "Hmm... this is actually quite interesting."
Practical Magic is a fairly well-known book-turned-movie that was celebrated during the years I'd been growing up. When mentioned, many people had stated, quite happily that they really loved the movie. I never actually saw the movie myself, as much of a Sandra Bullock fan as I am. It just never really appealed to me, and I'm sad to say that even after reading the book, I'm not sure I'd search out the movie to compare--many others have expressed that this is one instance in which the movie is actually more enjoyable than the book.
Practical Magic spans many years from the childhood of our protagonists, Sally and Gillian Owens, on through their teenage years, and then into adulthood. The entire book is written in four separate parts without chapter separations, detailing the childhood and adolescent years of the sisters in the first two parts, and then transitioning into a brand new conflict in the sisters' adulthood. In fact, it almost feels like two separate stories... although at the same time I could probably argue that the entire book is a series of small anecdotes and story tangents melded together.
At times, it got very confusing because I wasn't entirely sure where we were going with the story. When something seemed to be happening, the next paragraph or two (or ten) would meander into a completely different setting with a different character and a different story line. I admit, I really, really got lost sometimes when the transition was a bit awkward. Other times, the transition wasn't so bad and I had an idea what the story was getting at.
It probably also didn't help that I had a hard time relating to or liking any of the characters in the book. And it also probably didn't help that my attention wandered as well since the story itself seemed to wander so much. This book was written in a very narrative-heavy fashion with a very small amount of dialogue, but somehow maintaining a good amount of showing rather than telling, as hard as that is to believe.
Practical Magic is well written--I will give it that. It's a great, magical concept and I DO like the premise of it. But other than that, this book really just wasn't something I found all that enjoyable.
2016 Reading Challenges:
• Goodreads Reading Challenge
• BookLikes Reading Challenge
• Bookish Resolutions Challenge
• 2016 Halloween Bingo