American Lit · Books that have film Adaptations · horror lit

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

“In forgetting, they were trying to remember.”

I didn’t see the film until recently so perhaps my view of this book is skewed, in that I knew what to expect. I think I would have been a lot more scared if I’d read the book first.

A great deal of the book’s horror comes from the subtlety in which the horror occurs, as opposed to the gory visuals of the film. To begin with, the book looks to be one massive metaphor for puberty but clearly things are not all they seem to be. The domestic home – which is supposed to be a place of safety and security for those who reside there – is a place of uncertainty and danger as the demon possesses Regan.

If you are reading the book after seeing the film, the book contains nuances which were not in the film. For example, we are given the backstory of one of the family’s house servants and this proves an understated linkage that perhaps complete families are not represented very well in the story. In the same way, the horrific actions of the demon are explored in more depth within the book as opposed to the film.

While this book didn’t horrify me, it was very well written for the genre in which it places itself. The sections about exorcisms were interesting, but then again at times it felt as if those explanatory sections of the story went on for far too long.

MY RATING: **** / *****

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