Review: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

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?

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Narrated by the author. Published by Harper Collins, October 2011. Run time is 12 hours and 52 minutes. 40th anniversary edition.

This is my 2nd time reading The Exorcist. I enjoyed it just as much the 2nd time around. This time was a little bit more special. Not only is this the 40th anniversary edition, which apparently had a few revisions from the author, but the audiobook is narrated by the author! I was really excited about that. 🙂 I always feel like when the author narrates their own stories, you get a better sense of the characters tone.

It was interesting to see the main priest of the story tried other things before just jumping straight to religion. On the other hand, I felt like slapping Father Damien after X amount of time because it felt so obvious it was a real possession! Sometimes it felt to drag a little bit when he kept searching and searching for answers. It didn’t kill the story, but at the same time it wouldn’t have hurt to have edited a little bit of that out. Sometimes it just felt like going in circles because Damien couldn’t / wouldn’t except that it was the real deal. I get it, that was the point… his character was having a crisis of faith and doubt and he needed to exhaust all options before coming back to his faith. Like I said, it didn’t hurt the book, but it did ride the line of becoming repetitive.

We have all heard little kids cursing now days, so you would think hearing Regan shouting obscenities would be as shocking as it might have been when this book originally came out. I disagree though. The real shock is in the extreme change between a sweet little girl into something so nasty. Yes, kids swear. Not it’s not new. BUT it was new to Regan. That was what was shocking.

If you want to read about demons and exorcisms, you should always start with The Exorcist. You can tell it had a lot of research put into it. It is one of the best possession stories around. It’s a classic for a reason.


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