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Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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“…be who you are, every part of you, the good and the bad, the sorrowful and the joyous. You can never run away. There is nowhere to run to.” – The Rules of Magic

I have been so excited to read this prequel to Hoffman’s Practical Magic! I saw the Practical Magic movie before I read the book. I was surprised at how different the movie and book were from each other. It was like they were two different stories. But I actually loved them both. It is rare for me to like a book and the movie version of the book and usually only happens in cases like this, when I saw the movie first.

With the popularity of the movie, I wasn’t sure if Hoffman’s prequel, in which she tells the story of the Aunts (Jet and Frannie), was going to lean more toward the movie version or stay true to the book version. But the thing is, the Aunts didn’t play as big of a role in the book as they did in the movie. So Hoffman really could have done just about anything she wanted with their early characters. What she chose to do was take readers back to New York City in the ‘60s as the Owens siblings – Jet, Frannie, and their brother Vincent – discovered that they weren’t quite ordinary.

I found this book to be a good combination of both the movie version and book version of Practical Magic. For instance, as I stated earlier, the Aunts don’t play as big of a role in the book as they do in the movie. In the movie, Sally and Gillian move in with the Aunts after their parents die and then Sally and her girls later do the same. But in the book, Sally takes her girls away from the Aunts trying to distance herself from the family and anything to do with magic. In The Rules of Magic, Frannie, Jet, and Vincent go to visit their Aunt in the old house on Magnolia Street to learn all about the family history, magic, and just what it means to be an Owens. While they don’t move in with her as children, I liked that Hoffman incorporated the old house and the idea of an Aunt passing on the family magic in this new book while still staying true to the original story.

Also familiar was the curse on anyone who dare to love an Owens. The curse is central in The Rules of Magic and how it affects each of the Owens siblings. Speaking of the Owens siblings, I loved the introduction of Vincent. I had wondered while reading and watching Practical Magic if there were a third sister or a brother and what might have happened to him or her. I mean, the Aunts were the Aunts because they must have had a sibling who produced Sally and Gillian’s mom. So it was nice to have that story come full circle.

Most of all, I enjoyed reading Jet’s story. Without giving away any spoilers, I will just say that I loved the message of redemption in her story. Overall, I feel that the real message of the book, of both books, is that love is worth it – worth the risk and the heartache. As Hoffman advised us in Practical Magic, “Fall in love whenever you can.”

Sound advice! Now…pick up The Rules of Magic as soon as you can!

Up Next: My review of The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry. Subscribe to the blog or sign up with your email here so you don’t miss out!


Author: kaitsbookshelf

After several years of being a cubicle commander, I realized that cubicle life is not for me. I went back to school and received my Bachelor of Arts in Writing so I could pursue a career in the field I am most passionate about. I love everything about books and created this blog to have a creative place to share my passion for books with others. I am a freelance writer, editor, book reviewer, and blogger. I am a member of the EFA and SCBWI. Thanks for visiting my website!

One thought on “Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

  1. Pingback: October Wrap-Up! | Kait's Bookshelf

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