The Exorcist Book Cover The Exorcist
William Peter Blatty
Harper Collins
June 1971

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 had a hefty sum of 3 dollars left on the gift card that I received last Christmas, I could not find a book to spend it on. I end up scrolling through the highest rated books horror section on the website when I stumbled on The Exorcist. Only $1.99!? I immediately clicked purchase and synced it to my library.

I feel as though I’m a little late to be getting around to reading this book. Some would describe it as one of the greatest horror stories ever. (For me, it’s a tie with ‘Salems Lot) They wouldn’t be very wrong either. It was originally written in 1971, it then went on to become one of the most well-received movies of a generation.  I shall try not to talk about the movie.

I’m sitting here late on a Saturday evening with my eyes glazing over from tiredness, wiping the sleep away as I strain to finish it. There is a compelling need to find out what happens to that little girl that’s keeping me from doing anything else. Does the exorcism actually work? Who committed those desecrations at the churches? Will they get all of that vomit out of the carpets? That describes my obsession with this book, from the moment I opened it, I had to move forward no matter what.


What I liked:

  • The characters. Everyone that was introduced in the story had a purpose, they all felt like they played an important part even if they only showed up for a house party. I never realized how much I craved that from a story until I read this.
  • The amount of detail that went into explaining the history and rituals of performing exorcisms. The way he described Regan’s actions as the book went on, sent shivers through my body.
  • The side plots that were happening at the same time as the story about Regan’s transformation. The police investigation really included everyone and made them all seem like a suspect until the last few pages.

What I disliked:

  • The sudden and abrupt ending. Father Karras is in the room with Regan and suddenly we’re in the epilogue. It was still a great ending but the epilog was needed to actually explain what might have actually happened in the room. There were a few instances where things just seemed to happen with little or no explanation.


(**Annie’s note: Apparently, this book had some rewrites after 40 years?)

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