Thursday 24 October 2019

THE EXORCIST by William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Exorcist is a book I've wanted to read for AGES. Of course, I watched the movie when I was very young and have seen it several times since, but reading the book is always a different experience.

We all know how the story goes: a young girl is possessed by an evil entity and two men of the cloth have to rescue her by performing an exorcism...

But, there's so much more to the story. So much.

Starting with how smart and lovely Regan is, how much she loves her mother and how abandoned she feels by her father. Not to mention how her mother tackles an acting career while raising a child. Sure, she's got help in the Swiss couple who run the household and the tutor who teaches her daughter, but she's always there for her. Because, although this story is about a lot of things, one of the main issues is how far a mother is willing to go to save her child. How determined she is to convince doctors and priests about what's really going on.

That's another thing. The words hysteria and hysterical kept coming up. It seemed like their go-to diagnosis when dealing with a child showing clear signs of possession, and the mother trying to get real answers. Typical, right? If a girl or woman is acting differently or demanding answers, she's gotta be hysterical. Even Father Karras often thinks these unhealthy thoughts.

Ah, Father Karras. In spite of his contradictions--or maybe because of them--I really liked him. I enjoyed getting insights into his personal guilt, his medical mind and his personal struggles with faith. He was fascinating, and although it takes him a while, definitely comes through. His redemption is harsh and cruel, but satisfying. In a very sad way.

I also liked Kinderman. He was one of those cops who pretends he's slow-witted, but is one clever fox.

There were a lot of very cool subplots in this story--the desecration stuff, a murder investigation, a troubled daughter--and I enjoyed all of them. I especially liked the one about Father Merrin, because that put everything that happens to Regan and those around her in such a horribly sad light. They were pawns in a bigger game, one they had no clue about.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the hell out of this book. I found it hard to put down, that's why it didn't take me long to read.

I only have one problem. I'd heard, countless of times, that this story was horrifying. But I have to tell you, I didn't find it scary at all. Sure, it was creepy and freaky and disturbing, but not scary.

This is an interesting and very intriguing book, and I'm SO glad to have finally read it!

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