The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Publication Date: July 1972 (first published 1971)
Details: Paperback, 403 pages
Publisher: Bantam Books
Source: Goodwill find.
The terror began unobtrusively. Noises in Regan’s room, an odd smell, misplaced furniture, and icy chill. Small annoyances for which Chris MacNeil, Regan’s actress mother, easily found explanations. The changes in eleven-year-old Regan were so gradual, too, that Chris did not recognise for some time how much her daughter’s behaviour had altered. Even when she did, the medical tests which followed shed no light on Regan’s symptoms, which grew more severe and frightening. It was almost as if a different personality had invaded the child. Desperate, Chris turned from the doctors to Father Damien Karras, a Jesuit priest who was trained as a psychiatrist and had a deep knowledge of such phenomena as Satanism and possession. Was it possible that a demonic force was at large? If psychiatry could not help, might exorcism be the answer?
I’ve been a fan of horror since I was a kid and The Exorcist was always one of my favorite movies. Since I wasn’t a reader when I was younger, I had no idea it was based on a book. I have been trying to find a copy for the last few years and recently while spending the morning at Goodwill with my mom and cousin, I stumbled across one. I was so happy that I think I might have actually jumped up and down. I just remember being super excited and my cousin looking at me like I was a complete freak.
Now that I’ve read it, I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it. I think I would have loved it if I hadn’t already seen the movie hundreds of times. They are just so much alike. I think that was my problem and why it took me so long to get through the book (2 months!). It was a great read and while reading it I was thoroughly enjoying it, but there were no surprises. It was creepy and well written but I knew everything that was going to happen. Usually when they turn a book into a movie they leave some stuff out. One thing I did really like was that you get to know the characters a bit more. I found that interesting.
I’m giving it four stars because I feel like if I hadn’t seen the movie, I would have absolutely loved this book. It would have been a five star read for me. I know it’s not the author or the books fault that I grew up on horror movies, and I did really enjoy reading it, so I can’t give it anything less than four stars.
If you haven’t seen the movie, or it’s been awhile since you watched it, please give this book a read. Even if you have seen the movie a hundred times like I have and you are interested in reading it, give it a shot. Just make sure you go into it knowing that it is pretty much exactly the same as the movie.