Having never known that the movie was based on a book I could hardly break my "no movie till the book has been read" oath following the Lord of the Rings tragedy. But here I think I hardly have worried, because I have found that rare thing, a story that is better on the screen than the page (in my opinion). The spirit of the characters is all the same, except for Sally's two daughters; in the book, we follow the younger sisters up to their teens and they are much more fleshed out literally and figuratively. Most of the book centers on the interpersonal relationships of the two sets of sisters and their love lives. There's so much introspection and emotional characterization that I didn't feel like I was reading a good story so much as a parable in the form of a therapy session. Getting rid of Jimmy Angelou takes no more than 3 pages at most at the very end of the book. I don't even think "magic" or "witch" is used more than twice each. There is a "magic" of a sort in the book, but its a more inherent kind, rather than using potions or spells, but the women have no real control over the way they affect their surroundings, their mere presence sets off all kinds of havoc. The movie was more gripping and less touching, but at least it doesn't leave you exhausted and haggard afterwards. The main difference is big and it's this: the movie tells you that sisterhood conquers all attackers. The book tells you that your worst enemies are yourself and your "sister" and no one else can protect or sabotage you better than they.