Jeffery Moulton's Reviews > The Exorcist

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
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's review
Mar 13, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012-books, horror
Read from March 05 to 10, 2012

Believe it or not, I have never seen the movie, though there are so many pop-culture references to it that I had a pretty decent idea of the plot before starting the book. I went in for something dark and even a little scary—just in that mood. And I admit it took me a chapter or two to get into it... but once I did, I had a hard time putting it down.

This book plays with your mind. Well before it reached the truly horrific parts (and yes, there are several), it gave me nightmares. Someone very wise (I think it was Guillermo del Toro, but don't quote me on that) once said that "horror is the absence of something that should be there or the presence of something that shouldn't." The Exorcist epitomizes that statement. It is all about things that should or should not be where they are, and the lack of something normal, or the presence of something incredibly abnormal makes your skin crawl. It is absolutely brilliant!

One thing I didn't expect from the book was the discourse on medicine and science vs. religion. The discussion was deep and sometimes profound. I found it fascinating that even the priests, who I expected to take an entirely religious view, first went to science for explanations. And the comparisons between our modern world and the ancient one were interesting. But most interesting was the fact that the book didn't answer all the questions. There were multiple possibilities for what occurs between the pages and the reader is left to sort them out while still feeling satisfied with the ending. That is good writing!

That being said, the book is not for the faint of heart. Some sequences are extremely intense and very, very graphic. If you are easily offended, you should stay away from this book as it is often profane (on purpose) and, as I said, truly scary. Having read it, I believe it deserves the title: The scariest book ever written.

In the end, I thought the book was brilliant. There is some absolutely incredible prose in these pages, but more than that, the book sets out to scare and make its reader think, and it does both of those things very, very well. It deserves its status as a classic and is a must read for any horror aficionado.

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