Very different from the movie!
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎🌍
Character development: 🤕🤬🤯😲
If you have seen the movie, you know it is about the curse on the Owen’s family with the main romance between Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gary (Aiden Quinn) with Gillian (Nicole Kidman) being a main character but not in a romance, only getting out of a bad relationship in a magical way. The book was that and so much more.
For the most part, we can expect the book to be better than the movie or at the very least some parts cut out, but this was extremely different in my eyes. I loved the movie and I will continue to love it despite the book being so different. I just think they could have made a sequel and included more of the book into this.
Though after reading Magic Lessons and The Rules of Magic I think I would rather see either of those as a movie. Especially The Rules of Magic. Though they would need to make it a long movie because I can’t imagine parts of that cut out.
Anyway, the movie is about a few of the scenes from the book and isn’t really representative of the book as a whole. For example, both the book and the movie start with Sally and Gillian as children, but there are only a few short scenes of their childhood in the movie. Most of the book takes place when the two are in their late 20’s or early 30’s while Sally’s children are young.
The book delves deeper into the childhood of Sally and Gillian from the time they were with their parents and especially growing up with the aunts. It also goes past the ending of the movie and quite a bit of the book is Sally’s daughters growing up and the magic they have within them as well. Also there were some scenes where I really disliked Sally and Gillian, though I understood the scenes based on their personalities.
I really like Alice Hoffman’s writing style. She describes so much without making it look like offhand world-building as some authors seem to do. She does whimsy so well and I love how the magic is not always big and flashy, but is often little things like feelings, thoughts and things that seem to happen to them. It isn’t always good or things that they mean to do.
In the movie, Gillian doesn’t have nearly as big of a role as she does in the book. We see her run wild and come home with an abusive husband Jimmy. She and Sally get rid of him using magic, but he reappears and Gillian is possessed by him. Sally and the aunts with some help from the local women who had snubbed them in the past, get together to get rid of Jimmy and it pretty much ends soon after.
In the book, Gillian has a love interest, and gets quite steamy with him. Sally’s kids also have their own suitors. Sally has Gary Hallet (played in the movie by Aiden Quinn). We get to see what Gary is thinking and what drives him unlike the movie, he is much more of a romantic figure in the book.
“At this moment, Gary wishes he could grab her and force her, at least until she gave in. He’d like to make love to her right here, he’d like to do it all night and not give a damn about anything else, and not listen if she told him no. But he’s not that kind of man, and he never will be. He’s seen too many lives go wrong when a man allows himself to be led around by his dick.”
I also really liked hearing about Sally’s girls, Kylie and Antonia. Kylie could see the man in their garden (Jimmy) when nobody else could. She sees that bees seem to like him and he appears more when it rains. He stares back at her when she watches him. Very spooky stuff.
Overall, I did like the book quite a bit. I liked Magic Lessons and The Rules of Magic better than this but I do think this is definitely worth the read. I will definitely be reading The Book of Magic, I loved Vincent in The Rules of Magic, he is brother to the aunts and grandfather to Gillian and Sally, though they never met him.