The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
I have a story before I actually get into the book. I had to read this book for class, so reading it wasn’t a pleasure read like most of the other material on this blog will be, not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but instead of getting the book through the college, I wanted to get my own copy since I was aware of the impact and history of the book. I went to all the local stores and found nothing so I ended up spending the whole weekend listening to a ten-hour audiobook of the story.
I’m pretty sure that everyone and their mother has heard of this book and the movie that was based on it, both of them have had huge impacts on their respective markets and popuralized the idea of demonic possessions in the mainstream. Honestly, the book was one of the most disturbing and visceral pieces of media that I have ever consumed, not that this bothers me. I am no stranger to blood and gore within my own writing, Urban Monarchs has its fair share of blue splatters of blood, and Wilting Blood has the word in its damn name, but this book takes it a step farther. I really don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into specifics but some of the scenes in this book mix several elements into its horror that are disturbing enough on their own, like religion and sex.
The book likes to be as ambiguous as it can with how it depicts its possession, and uses a lot of real world examples and cases to back itself up as well as showing how well researched the author was when he was writing it. He accurately describes and show the stages of a demonic haunting (infestesation- oppression- possession as far as I am aware) which I found very interesting as someone who is interested in the paranormal. He also showed off his knowledge of demonology with his picking of the demon Pazuzu as the presumed antagonist, instead of your stock basic Baphomets, and Beelzebubs. The book is littered with hints and has excellent characterization for all of its characters, making them each interesting in their own right, and easily melding their subplots into the main story of the book.
My favorite aspect of the book has to be how it keeps you guessing about the nature of what is truly going on with the character of Reagan while also realistically depicting the decay and insanity that such a condition would cause a household should its only child turn so violently ill. The mental rot and themes of mental illness are sewn beautifully into the guts of the story.
All in all I’d give it 5 demons out of 5.