Books

Book Review: The Passionate Witch by Thorne Smith, Norman Matson (Completed By)

This was a hard book to find in a physical form. Then I came across it (+ The Night Life of the Gods) in a local secondhand bookstore, I got exhilarated. The book I found was a pocket edition from the 40s, costing then $0,25 which means $319,19 when you take inflation into a count. Inflation what a nice thing (and that was sarcasm, just that you know. I’m not a fan of inflation, but we can get to my views about economics in some other post.) If I was to buy the same product today, it would cost me $1,84. I don’t know if you find any of that useful or interesting, but I had to check it out, I was feeling curious. And you know what happens to curious people, they inherit the earth. I will stick with that notion.

I couldn’t wait to get home with my findings, real treasures. I take books over gold anytime. Which is stupid as with gold you could buy more books, but then again wouldn’t there be an unnecessary extra step? I’m sorry, I should get to reviewing the book. The first fifty pages were like I had hoped: that feeling of magic and silliness what you get from Bewitched written in an elegant form. I was happy to read it, despite somewhat outdated views about women and their roles in the home, society, and in marriage. Then the writer didn’t know what to do with his passionate witch and he ruined everything! The story took a wrong turn if that is even possible.

I didn’t mind this being a “horror” version of Bewitched. The witch being nasty, dark, and sensual. I didn’t mind the somewhat oldish view when it comes to witches: sacrifices, riding goats, and bite marks from you know who. And I loved that the twist I didn’t like, made the book turn into pondering about what if you could read others’ mind how that would affect your life? But nothing of that had to do with anything the story proposed me in the first pages. And I say again either Thorne Smith or Mr. Matson who finished the story after Smith death didn’t know how to deal with the passionate witch and with the tension between her and the main character Mr. Wooly.

I wanted to stand up to barricades and protest what was done to the book and the witch. Okay, I’m partial to witches as well (you know already that I have this partiality to aliens, monsters, and other horrible beings from the great beyond. And yes we have already established that I’m twisted.) I find witches fascinating and have been intrigued by them since my childhood. Maybe that has to do something with my grandma, hm? There is something empowering, secretive, and sensual with women who can do magic. And here is a good time to tell you: I was thought to be one two days ago. I went hiking with my husband in a local forest and I have this fisherman’s hat with a witchy tip. We came across with a family and their son asked me if I was a witch and I said, “I guess you can think me as one.” Or something along the line. And now I’m not sure if I should have inflicted such a memory to the poor boy. Was I wicked or did I make his life richer? His mother told me (embarrassed) after the boy asked me the question, they had been talking about witches only a moment ago as they made through the “enchanted forest”. Poor boy. I defense of my hat: it is useful. I use it in my hikes. When we got home, my husband found three flies (which suck blood) in his hair and I didn’t have a single one. My witchy fisherman’s hat repelled them away. There is magic after all!

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Here is a picture of my hat. The other one is my husbands, and it turned out to be useless against bloodsucking flies.

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And here is a picture of a lake in the “enchanted” forest.

(Pictures in this review will be a one-time deal! Just a moment of madness.)

Back to my disappointment! The way the book dealt with the witch wasn’t how you should treat a witch. They can be reasonable if you talked to them instead of pushing them aside. The book was clearly about the duality of women: the whore (the passionate witch) and the mother (Mr. Wooly’s love interest), and how men struggle with them. The writer joked with those issues. Luckily witches come in all sizes and shapes and very different mindsets nowadays. I think Bewitched got it better. That said, I understand the book was a product of its time. When I read it, I didn’t mind the gender roles, and I understood them, but what I minded was how the writer’s inability to deal with the passionate witch broke the story. The part I’m talking about has to do with trees and being hit on the head. If you find this book, read it and make up your own mind. Maybe you are partial to witches like me and found the book disappointment or don’t think the point I’m talking about ruins the story at all and find the book rightly silly to read and lighten up your mood (which it does, if you don’t take seriously things like does it work.)

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