Sunday, November 15, 2009
CBR Book #6: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Chris MacNeil is an actress filming on location in Georgetown. She lives in a rented home with her daughter Regan, housekeepers Karl and Willie, and Regan's tutor/Chris's secretary Sharon. This book also introduces us to a Jesuit, Father Damien Karras, who believes he is losing his faith.
I had avoided watching the movie for many years because I didn't want to be scared. When I finally watched the movie, I realized that it was more disturbing than frightening. The same is true for the book. I wasn't scared while reading the novel, but I was deeply disturbed by much of the transformation Regan goes through and the things that her condition causes her to do. The more disturbing aspect of the book, for me, was what Chris had to go through during her daughter's ordeal. Chris lost her daughter for a period of time, witnessed things that she will never be able to forget, and will likely carry a guilt with her for the rest of her life because of her role in involving Father Karras and the exorcist in the situation.
In comparing the novel to the movie, there is much more exploration of the Sergeant's predicament that was only hinted at in the movie, if at all. There is also more back story of the housekeepers, involvement of more doctors, and more individuals outside of the Jesuits and Chris's household. The novel is just as engrossing as the film, though I could have done without the Sargeant's larger role in the novel. This was a great read that was difficult to put down.