Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: Practical Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Genre: Magical realism

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Goodreads | Powell’s


This book was a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, I pretty much dig the writing style and the mood that Alice Hoffman sets in this one. I tend to like magic realism, and this is the “chick lit” version. It was another seasonal fall read for me, and I was pretty receptive to what it had to offer. It seems like a good book for cooling weather & lengthening nights.


I also enjoyed the family element, and all the relationships between women. The book dealt (fairly compassionately) with issues domestic and sexual violence. So I wanted to like it, but…
– the emphasis it places on female beauty (basically: “Gillian is the most beautiful ever, she glows, it’s painful how beautiful she is, she causes car accidents because she’s so just beautiful, these women, they make men DIE for love, men just lose their shit and are moved to KILL THEMSELVES because these women are just so beautiful”…I am not exaggerating at all, and this is just a taste)
– the completely unrealistic romantic “relationships” (undying twu luv at first sight, that is somehow sustained even though there was a pretty substantial emphasis on sex sex sex but no such emphasis on other types of communication, honesty, working through problems, being there for each other, etc)
– despite the somewhat unstable nature of these romantic relationships, they seem to supercede all other relationships in these women’s lives, or are supposed to be of paramount importance to them / the reader
– the fact that somehow women are the ONLY people ever to come see the aunts about love problems? ?????? ?? ????? … ???
– [spoiler alert] how we are supposed to think Gary is some Awesome Fucking Dude for not raping Sally when he actually wants to
…all conspire to lower the rating substantially. There is probably more but I don’t actually have the book on me so I can’t look through the notes I made. Anyway… One of those things I’d be willing to mostly overlook, and if most were present in moderation, it wouldn’t be so bad. But it got to the point where I was like “UGH COME ON.” 😐


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