Practical Magic [Review]

A while ago I stumbled across the movie Practical Magic, and loved it. It’s this wonderful, playful, tale about finding love and accepting the magic that lives within yourself. And then, a few weeks ago, I discovered that it was based on a book by the same name, which I immediately purchased. What I read though, wasn’t a better version of the movie, as is typically the case. It was something else entirely. A slightly sad tale of finding women finding love even though they believed they either didn’t deserve it, or didn’t want it. And somehow, along the way, Sally’s children found maturity within themselves. It was wonderfully written, but sadly mundane. “The Aunts” still practice magic, and practically embody the witch stereotype. But they’re not much more than that. Just, witchy sisters who dress in black, “cast spells”, shun society, and happen to raise the main characters. In the movie they’re happy, playful, sneaky, strong women who happen to be witches ostracized by superstition. It was as if the screenwriter took the main themes, and characters, of the book and reworked them into an entirely new tale. But, the movie does remain true to the spirit of the book. They definitely count as a chick-flick, and chick-lit respectively, but which one is for you depends a lot on how you see the world. Is it a place filled with magic that you’ve mostly been ignoring since childhood? Or, is the world nothing more than the mundaneness that surrounds you? If the former, watch the movie. If the latter, go read the book. They’re both quite good, but, despite its title, and skillfull writing, the book really doesn’t feel very magical, and even though it has a happy ending it’ll leave you feeling a little melancholy.