Top critical review
Not like the movie, if you’re here because you love the movie DON’T READ
Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2018
I tried to love this book - I really did.
I adore the movie - the lessons it teaches us about family, love, and hope. (Magic too!)
But the book... well it’s not like the movie at all. Never would I think the movie would be better than the book, but here we are.
First of all, there’s hardly any “magic” in this book whatsoever. The old house that the aunts live in isn’t even where most of the book takes place. They’re not even characters involved in the book let alone supporting to the main plot.
The tense switch drove me NUTS. Present tense was used often - which is something I’ve never known a decent author to do. Characters constantly drowned in in their heads from one random thought to the next - which had no relevance to the story and or plot.
The Owens sisters were horrible people? I kept thinking to myself - “Sally is a miserable bitch” and “Gillian is a selfish person” and never, not once during the book did I feel a connection between the two, only resentment.
Then it’s the men. Every man is obsessed with the Owens women. And I mean stalker obsessed. To the point where they won’t leave them alone. But then those men are the lead romance figures of the novel????? Instant love with NO development regarding Gillian and Ben (the guy who stalked her for WEEKS after seeing her for the first time and deciding that he HAD to have her - both sexually and as a possession)
That’s not even the worst part. At this point in the novel (80%) we meet Gary. Gary who drones on in his head about Arizona, about his family members who have no relevance to the plot, and who CRIES ALL THE TIME. (Honestly??? What is up with that?)
I stopped reading at 84%, when Sally goes to tell Gary that her and Gillian killed Jimmy. They get hot and heavy in the car, and Sally decides that she wants to stop because she doesn’t even KNOW Gary (they met like, a day ago yet he’s already in love with her somehow, idk???) And he has ONE THOUGHT that I just could not get over:
“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 WANTS TO RAPE HER. HE THINKS ABOUT FORCING HER. HOW IS THIS OKAY? I don’t give a s*** about “he’s not that kind of man and is better so he doesn’t” ... Alice Hoffman still wrote him to think about raping her.
At that moment, I decided I’d never read this author again. Because after all those scenes where Gillian cries remembering Jimmy raping her, then going back and forth into romanticizing it makes me feel like this book romanticizes rape - which was actually common in bodice rippers in the 80’s and 90’s.
And yeah, I’ll pass. This is nothing like the movie. No happiness, no family lessons and family bonding. Just pure misery and family drama.