Author: John Updike
First Published: 1984
Page Count: 307
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 1/5 Stars
This dry novel may tout that it’s about witches, but there is very little magic to the story.
*Over-descriptive *Annoying main characters *Hardly a story
“Wickedness was like food: once you got started it was hard to stop; the gut expanded to take in more and more.” In the small town of Eastwick, there live three single mothers who happen to be witches, Alexandra, Sukie, and Jane. When a mysterious man named Darryl Van Horne moves into town, buying the massive Lenox home, he manages to seduce the three women and take them under his wing. However, his presence soon turns their bond and the town upside down.
Well, might as well get right to it; I did not enjoy this book in the least. I really couldn’t believe it. From the cover, to the title and the story description this should have been my type of read. And it’s been praised for years so there was no way I could have ever predicted not liking this book as much as I did. A lot of it had to do with Updike’s writing style. He is extremely descriptive, which is usually a good thing in a writer, but he takes it to the extreme. I’m pretty sure if we chopped down his paragraphs of descriptive writing this book would be fifty pages long instead of three hundred. However, he needs that descriptive writing, because there isn’t really a huge story to speak of, or at least not one that is novel length. The main characters just sit around and talk on the phone all day about the townsfolk of Eastwick, and happen to cast a naughty spell on one of them. This hardly makes for a thrilling read.
I realized I could have liked this book if more magic had been involved; they hardly felt like witches and there was no paranormal feeling to the story. The witches themselves were annoying and whiny, always complaining about their looks. I guess I also had trouble imagining these characters because the cover has a picture of an attractive woman, and all the adaptations of this book have the witches played by attractive women. That impression of what the characters should look like was really lodged in my brain and I couldn’t get passed it.
I really don’t know what type of person would read this book or what they would hope to get out of the story. However, if you are like me and were hoping for a sexy story about magical small town witches (maybe something more along the lines of Practical Magic) then I would look elsewhere. Thank goodness this book is a short read; I don’t think I could have stomached another second of time in Eastwick.
*Film Adaptations: (Starring Jack Nicholson 1987)