Tag Archives: loss

Book Review: Practical Magic.

Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman.

I’ve had this book for ages but, for some reason, I hadn’t read it. Practical Magic (Griffin Dunne, 1998) is one of my favourite films, so I was a little worried that reading the book would make me feel disappointed by the film. fortunately, that didn’t happen. I loved the book, and I still love the film. For me, I found that there were enough differences that you could see the film was based on the book, but only loosely followed it. The film was written incredibly well, in my humble opinion, so that it complimented the book.

As with the film, it follows the story of sisters Sally and Gillian after their parents die and their move to the aunts on Magnolia street. In the film it follows this idea of being cursed by their ancestor, Maria, and how death follows any who “dare love an Owens girl”. The book differs from this track. It brings up love and feeling cursed, but it’s more centred around what the sisters believe they deserve. Their abandonment issues make them believe that they are not worthy of being loved, or they’re scared to love in case they lose something they care so much about.

They grow up as polar opposites, but are brought together by the death of Gillian’s boyfriend Jimmy. This finally brings Gillian back to the family. Sally left the aunts’ when her two girls (also polar opposites) were babies after fearing they’d be targets like her and Gillian were. As with the film, it follows their journey and how they learn to accept each other’s differences, and to love themselves for who they are.

Both the book and the film are beautifully narrated with vivid concepts, relatable emotions, and ‘real’ family frictions. I’m actually disappointed that Officer Gary Hallet wasn’t how he was portrayed in the film though – I really loved Aidan in this. Gary in the book seemed such a dull character by comparison (which he really isn’t, he just felt different). I’m also sad that Gillian didn’t look like the red-haired Nicole Kidman. The symmetry between Sally and Gillian with Sally’s girls, Antonia and Kylie, was much more subtle than film. In the book, it’s more about attitudes and how personalities can grow, change, converge… dependent upon influences, circumstances and age.

You actually see Sally’s children play a much bigger role in showing this development when it comes to the book.

Despite my love of the film, I still would definitely recommend reading the book as it’s like reading two books based on the same topic – you can see the similarities but, once you accept they’re not the same, you can love both equally.


Leave a comment

Filed under Author

Book Review: The Sorrows of Young Werther.

The Sorrows of Young Werther, by J.W.v Goethe.

A novella about a young man, an artist and writer, who goes off to the country to enjoy what nature may inspire. In his enthusiasm for new experiences, and meeting new acquaintances, he fails to take heed of friendly warnings, and becomes obsessed with a local woman who’s promised to another man. Despite the fact Lotte marries Albert, Werther attempts to maintain a friendship but only succeeds in exciting his obsessions, resulting in him becoming more and more melancholy.

There are lots of beautiful descriptions of the environment and daily life that Werther observes, but what I grew weary of was how much of a sap Werther became. He was a self proclaimed “sensitive” soul, but he became so hapless without a daily fix of “his” Lotte. It always seemed like Lotte was either truly ignorant of Werther’s passions, or she took pleasure in seeing him so uncomfortable. As it turns out, she isn’t the latter but I can’t really see her being entirely ignorant either, but it seemed like she did nothing in an attempt to prevent his attachment to her.

The book is set out in three parts, part one and two are as if we’re reading letters that Werther writes to an old friend about his life and love, as well as attempting to rid himself of his hopeless feelings once Lotte marries. Part three is an overview of Werther’s life as if written by an editor and contains snippets of things he wrote to his friend, as well as his final letter to Lotte.

Personally, the book wasn’t what I expected it to be. I found myself getting quite annoyed with the characters, and situations that went on. At 170 pages or so, it was hardly a difficult read though. Worth reading if you enjoy reading letters; or reading lots of observations on daily life, seasons, emotions, human interactions, etc…


Filed under Author

What if tomorrow never comes?

Sometimes the world feels like it’s an incredibly dark and treacherous terrain, set out in such a way that we are frequently snared or scratched on sharp protrusions of events as we pass.

Anyone that hasn’t spent time on a forum or in some form of ‘community’ setting online may not fully understand why news of an online friend passing away is upsetting, but those of you who have should know how completely you can form those bonds of friendship without ever knowing what that person looks like.

Today, I found out that my friend of over 2 years, who had been suffering for a very long time from various illnesses, had passed away after a period of time in hospital for a chest infection. She died of pneumonia.

This individual was such a beautiful character, so warm and welcoming. Easy to talk to and loved to listen to others. She loathed to moan about her own illness, preferring to focus on other people’s lives. If you asked her directly how she was getting on, she’d dance around the question so that you’d get just enough to answer your question and ease your concerns, but never any details. You were never truly aware of just how serious her condition was. That is, until she passed away.

I am now told that her illness really was a case of ‘it’s just a matter of time’ rather than her actually getting better. She had ‘good’ days, but an awful lot of painful and uncomfortable days since she was frequently having surgery and other treatments that seemed to cause her more discomfort. But, as I say, we were never given details. A lot of this was inferred before she’d swiftly move onto another topic.

And so young! Born April 1991. How fragile life is. I am repeatedly reminded that life truly is short and could take any one of us at any time, and it’s often the most sweetest and kindest natures that are taken from this world. How is that fair? Paedophiles, murderers, abusers, criminals seem to just keep going on and on like a duracel battery. But these lovely, warm individuals are snatched from the earth before they’ve really had chance to live.

I know some people will argue that they are God’s creatures and are fit for some other purpose, but these are not my beliefs. Life is full of chaos, pain and suffering for no purpose other than for us to learn that life needs to be made the most of for we only have one. There is no selection process, the good may be taken just as surely as the bad, though we notice their loss and their suffering more than we would the ‘bad’.

And I feel the loss. A young woman I have only ever spoken to online has managed to make such a strong impression of goodness that she has imprinted on my life and on my memories, a person that will not be forgotten just as people from my past who have died will still be remembered.

It brings it all home how much we take for granted. Just little things really like a conversation you wish you’d had, or something you should have done… it really makes no difference now to them but you wish that it was something you’d done all the same.

I guess that’s my moral this time around: If there’s something you want to do, something you want to say, or someone you don’t want to lose touch with – make sure you do something about it now. Don’t wait for tomorrows, because you just don’t know what tomorrow has in store for any of us.


Filed under Author