Notes from a Reading Journal: “The Rules of Magic,” by Alice Hoffman.

What a heartbreakingly enchanting novel! I am so glad that Book of the Month Club made this my November selection. Now I have marked “Practical Magic” on my to be read list!

I loved the 1960s Manhattan and Massachusetts setting, and the relationships between siblings Vincent; Jet; and Franny and their respective loves. The fact that there is witchery afoot was sort of a “fun” element for me. In my opinion, the real star of the show is the heartbreak and joy of the stories of the lives of the characters.

This is a story of how each life ends for a time, but begins again. Will the Owens siblings beat their family’s curse?  

Two big questions that I noted while reading that I was happy were resolved were:  What was Vincent’s premonition? How was it right / how was it wrong? What did Isabella whisper to Franny?

I had to note the roles that journaling played in the story as well! Maria Owens, the  ancestor, had a journal that was kept in the rare book room in the library. Later, Franny would leave journals out for the teenage girls to pick up and take home (“Clearly convinced that words could save them – p. 314.”) I loved that!

Quotes I Collected in my Reading Journal:

·      Page 161: “What’s done cannot be undone.”

·      Page 254: “Nature could be shifted, but not controlled.”

·      Page 257: “Things ended, and then they began again.”

·      Page 57: “Writing itself was a magical act in which imagination altered reality and gave form to power. To this end, the book was the most powerful element of all.”

·      Page 346: “The truth was, they had managed to get what they wanted. It just wasn’t lasting long enough, not that it ever could.”

·      Page 331: “In truth it is easier to let your old life disappear in order to start anew.”

Love more. Not less. — Jamie Whitmer