Book Review: The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

I must confess, I was hoping for a glorious, witchy romp when I began reading this book. I really enjoyed watching the film when I was younger, and naturally assumed that, as the books are generally better than the movie versions, this would be a corker. I was wrong.

I don’t think there was one character that I found likeable in this book. Updike portrayed them all in such a bad light, highlighting physical flaws, bitchiness, and jealousy. While his aim was to craft three feminists, what he actually presented us with were three women who hated everything and everybody. They neglected their children, they slept with married men, they bitched about each other and everybody else, and they killed innocent creatures. Yes, Alexandra’s brutal disregard for animals that weren’t her own made me feel a little sick. 

I did enjoy parts of this book, especially the first half. A fan of the film, it was difficult not to picture Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer as I read. Witchcraft fascinates me, and I  was enthralled for a bit. But there was never an opportunity to delve a little deeper into the character’s personality, apart from maybe Alexandra and her fear of cancer, which made them all quite two-dimensional. They were old school Mean Girls, hating on everything, with no respect for their own offspring, their friends, the sanctity of marriage, or anything really, and it grew tiresome.

While John Updike’s prose was delectable, by the end of the book I was confused as to what the hell was going on. I’m assuming he was trying to get some kind of message across, but it eluded me, probably because I just grew bored. I was disappointed, as I had expected bigger and better.

3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, and that’s only because I vaguely liked some of it.

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