Sunday, June 04, 2006
Magic and Maniac
Practical Magic is the first book by Alice Hoffman that I have read, but it will probably not be the last. I really enjoyed it. I've always liked the movie, but didn't know until recently that the movie was based on a book. As is typical, the book is better than the movie. The characters in the book, like Sally, Gillian, Antonia, Kylie and even others, some not even included in the movie, were so much deeper and more interesting in the book. Antonia and Kylie are much older in the book. They are teenagers, not little girls, and they have their own problems and concerns. The magic in the book is less... hokey, I suppose, than in the movie. They never brought Jimmy back to life in the book; he was just bad enough to cause problems on his own.
I also recently read a children's novel called Maniac Magee, written by popular children's writer, Jerry Spinelli. Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee is one cool kid, but his friend Amanda was probably my favorite character. How can you not love a girl who takes her "library" to school in a suitcase to protect it from her little brother and sister? Manic Magee deals with race relations in a small town, but not in a heavy-handed adult way. Jeffrey (Maniac) never saw a difference between black and white. He made friends on both sides of town. Sometimes he made enemies too, but mostly friends. He came to town as Jeffrey, a runaway (and he certainly ran), but he became Maniac, a town legend.