Somehow I made it thirty-three years without seeing the movie Practical Magic or reading the book it’s based on. I corrected the movie-watching on Netflix several years back, but I never thought about reading the book until Book of the Month put out this edition as an add-on the month they selected the prequel to be featured. I actually read the prequel first, and I really liked it! And it was clearly written after the popularity of the movie had sort of overshadowed the book, because while there is a prominent curse in the film version of this book, there is no curse to be found here! But there is a curse that Maria Owens has to deal with in the prequel. Just weird mixed media things.
Anyway, I liked the book, but it is pretty different from the movie. The characters are the same, sort of, but the location is different. It’s mostly set in New York City (like the prequel!) because Sally purposefully moves her girls away from her childhood home with her aunts so they can try to live normal lives. And while the film has more of an accidental comedic dead body situation, that’s more in the background here, as Gillian’s dead ex-boyfriend is more of a ghost with a malevolent presence and the real focus is the relationships between all the women in the family. All of that stuff was more nuanced than I was expecting, but the romantic relationships remain weirdly full of instalove. I don’t think there is a single couple in this book that doesn’t fall in love at first sight.
I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the other prequel to this one that follows the aunts, but I do want to check out the one that was just published, because I’d like to see how Sally and Gillian’s stories end.