Lisa (Harmonybites)'s Reviews > The Exorcist

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
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Oct 14, 2010

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bookshelves: contemporary, fantasy, horror, ultimate-reading-list, popular-fiction, fiction, novels
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Recommended for: Horror Fans
Read from October 14 to 15, 2010 , read count: 1

So much of the supernatural has religious underpinnings, but much fantasy and even genre horror novels underplays or eliminates that aspect. Witches are lovable like Tabitha and Hermione, werewolves have a "furry problem" at worst, vampires are smexy. The Exorcist, on the other hand, brings me back to my Catholic upbringing where you take those things that go bump into the night very seriously.

Indeed, my most vivid memory associated with the novel was a fellow student in my Catholic high school earnestly citing it as an authority for the dangers of atheism. ("It leaves the door open for the demonic!") According to Sister Eileen, so do tarot cards which she barred me from bringing in as "tools of the devil." (Thus losing to me my only--and very brief spell--of high school popularity.) Oh, the memories.

So, so you need to be a believer to take The Exorcist seriously enough to enjoy? Well, it probably helps. However, if you are religious (or not), you might find yourself sickened by the graphic sex and violence in the book that goes well beyond head spinning, projectile vomiting or the use of profanity. If the film had been true to the book, it would have earned much harder than an "R."

All that said, although I wouldn't call it particularly well-written (more than one metaphor in the book struck me as overreachingly clumsy) it certainly kept my interest, and the central characters of Father Damien Karras and Regan's mother, Chris MacNeil felt real.
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