Boil boil, Toil and Trouble, it’s the second day of October and why not touch base on the 90s classic Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman based on the novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman.


It follows the story of orphans Sally and Gillian Owens who are taken in by their magically gifted aunts. While growing up, they begin to learn how their magical backgrounds have caused quite a stir in their town in Massachusetts through taunts, whispers, and women sneaking to their home in the middle of the night for love potions.

Sally and Gillian long to be considered normal and will do anything in order to do so. Gillian escapes her small town by running away and jumping from man to man while Sally gets married and has two children, Antonia and Kylie. But they soon learn that you can’t run away from your past and especially can’t run away from your true self.

The book is pretty heavy on descriptions, there are often times when they span a couple pages, making the story drag along. We see the growth of Gillian and Sally from childhood onto their forties through their actions. We also get to know Sally’s children Antonia and Kylie and their growing powers.


I watched the movie when I was younger and have been in love with it for many years. I found a copy of the book at a library sale last year and finally got to read into the Owen sister’s true background story. Before I go further, I always go for the book instead of the movie but in this case I enjoyed the movie more so than the book.

The differences, for starters, are the descriptions of Gillian, Sally, and the aunts. Gillian is described as a blonde siren of a woman in the book and ages at a rapid pace. Sally is introverted and keeps most of what she wants to say on the inside. The aunts are barely there in the book, but the movie brings them to life in such a way that I fall in love with them instantly and wish they were my aunts!


I would take midnight margaritas any night, I’m just saying!

I don’t know, the movie makes me appreciate the characters more. The story is well developed for a film adaption. It differs quite a bit to the book but not in a bad way! In the book, Gillian finds love not just Sally. I honestly wish they would have added that into the movie to wrap it up with a pretty black bow. I’m not complaining, but it could have added an extra romantic element.

tumblr_nrxevsmfk91uta9o4o1_500In the book, Sally’s daughters names are switched and they are more vocal than their film adapted counterparts. We get a deeper insight into Sally’s marriage and her mourning for her husband. They skim over it in the movie in just the right way without overly drowning you in emotions. The movie reveals Sally poisoned Jimmy, Gillian’s abusive boyfriend, with bella donna while the book says differently. I prefer Gillian doing the dirty work because book Sally does not seem the vengeful type.

Oh, two of the most memorable scenes in the movie never existed in the book.  If you’ve seen the movie, remember that whole resurrection scene? Yeah, never happened. And Gillian’s possession? Never happened either. Jimmy is a poltergeist but he never makes his slimy way to Gillian. And Gillian and Sally bury him under lilac bushes instead of attempting to resurrect him.

Regardless of the differences…


In this case, I believe the movie won this round.


Have you read Practical Magic?

Which did you prefer, the movie or the book?

Let me know in the comments below!


Happy Reading!



  1. I read the book first and then saw the movie. I almost always lean toward the book as well but in this case I liked the movie better as well. I loved the aunts and I definitely felt more connected to the characters as well. I’ve read at least one other Alice Hoffman book, but it’s been awhile, but I feel like connecting the characters to the reader seems to be a bit of a weakness for Ms Hoffman.


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