I grew up watching Practical Magic with my sister. I knew and loved it as a movie long before I realized that it was based off a book. There is much debate over whether or not books make good movies, and what you lose when you change plot points. At what point is storytelling more important than staying true to the book? Usually when you love the movie first it is easy to accept the changes, this is true of White Oleander, and it is also true ofPractical Magic.
The story is the same, more or less. The differences come more from the medium than the variations in plot — although the daughters are not a key part of the film. Hoffman’s writing is poignant and passionate. It is a book about sisters, growing up, and love. It is the kind of book that demands to be read until finished even if that means reading it while walking down the sidewalk to your bus stop or staying up until 2:00 a.m. on a week night. These are topics that everyone can relate to and despite being so universal are rarely so poignantly phrased.
Practical Magic also leaves you with the undeniable, unmistakable feeling of a good story, good writing, and perfectly phrased sentences. Hoffman is good at writing and capturing relationships between people.
Gary knows this all sounds awfully stupid, but most things he’d say at this moment probably would.
Much like White Oleander this story leaves you breathless, excitable, and in its own ineffable way is everything a good story should be. Be it on the screen or on a page these stories are deeply enjoyable and meaningful. The mind will wander to them and every so often quotes from the book and clips on Youtube will be shared without a second thought.