Monday, January 08, 2018

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

At some point in the maelstrom of year end roundup lists, I found a list of books that librarians recommend from 2017The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman was the first on the list. Librarians know what's up, so I immediately requested in from my library. Apparently this book is a prequel to Practical Magic, but I have not read Practical Magic and I was immediately immersed in this world without needing any sort of primer.

The Owens family comes from a long line of witches. The matriarch in the family has a long list of rules the family must follow and, of course, as children are wont to do, children break the rules. But when you and I break the rules, it's generally not a matter of life and death. When the Owenses break the rules, it's not always that simple.

I was not expecting to find this book so transporting and riveting, but the lives of Vincent, Franny, and Jet seemed as real to me as my own.  The fear and excitement of the 1960s comes off the page, the deep debates we have within ourselves about self-identity and family belonging are engaged with a way that is meaningful and not preachy, and magic seeps off the page. I'm not generally a magical realism kind of person, but this one is totally five out of five stars for me.  I'm going to go ahead and put Practical Magic on my reading list now.

1 comment:

  1. The next time we talk we'll talk about what is considered magical realism. If witchcraft is the only magic, it's probably more urban fantasy.

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