The Exorcism of Little Billy Wagner -Book Review

I received this book courtesy of the author and @Booktasters on twitter as an ARC in return of an honest review and I believe it can’t get any more honest than this .

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During the time that I participated in the free giveaway I frankly believed that this was a horror book but apparently it’s not* and I was pleasantly surprised however to find it was a wonderfully crafted religious satire .

*despite the weird #horror tag applied by @booktasters on their twitter feed to promote this book , sort that shit out Book tasters

The book has been written by Francis J. Flynn who as I gather is an attorney from Saint Louis, Missouri where the story is set in as it focusses* on one Billy Wagner who has been showing erratic behavior which leads to his parents contacting the Archbishop to perform an exorcism on their Son whom they suspect to be demonized

*don’t know if focus is the right word as I will explain later

As I mentioned earlier don’t be fooled by either the book title or the book’s initial description because while the two suggest it to be your run-of-the-mill ghost story it’s actually a parody of the religious system believing the various myths of demons and ghosts while living in a world of modernization and medical advancements .

The book takes into account the various hierarchy of the church and details on how the process of Exorcism is dealt with in the modern era all the while introducing various realistic , absurd and hilarious members of the church who go about in trying to judge whether they proceed with the exorcism and if in case they do than how they go about it .

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And while that itself should make this a quick read sadly the author for some reason tries to go about his book in a very roundabout manner which makes the book dull for much of it’s 225 page length . it was like trying to touch your own nose by twisting your arm around the back of your neck instead of simply using it straight forward and doing so many a times the author actually strays from the main topic of the book i.e Billy Wagner.

Despite that the climax and the finale of the book come to the rescue of the book as the biggest scope for hilarity as well as tragedy . The climax raises the pace of the books story telling up a couple of notch and makes what was turning into a dull book into an intense one and truly revives the excitement that I had during the initial hour of my reading .

Similarly the Finale truly turns into a grand affair and the law house portrayal of the final events of the exorcism and various conclusions of the story were truly the best part of the book and in my opinion a book spending more pages on the law house and the climax would have made for a much better read than what came prior to those events .

The strength of the book however lies in how despite mocking the religious system working it even makes you doubt your own belief , irrespective of whether you believe or don’t believe in such myths . It also questions how the human beings like to impose their wills by any means possible when it focused on a mother who’d rather overdose her child than miss her daily soap or a Archbishop who is so hell bent on making people believe that his beliefs and old ways are right and the science , technology , and Modern views are wrong that he would force people to commit to acts that are not necessarily what his own religion preaches.

However when you question a religion or make a satire on it you are actually questioning various beliefs of people around you and that can be a bit troublesome and maybe that’s why you should always portray both sides to a story sadly the author only focuses on the wrongs of Church and religious beliefs while never once throwing a sort of lifeline to the believers and church or even the Vatican . Of course I am neither a Christian nor much of a believer* but I did feel that there deserved to be an other side of this story

* I am a doctor after all you know .

Overall I thought this was a fairly good and quick read with parts that I really liked a lot and parts that I barely tolerated . The climax and finale were truly wonderful and it was overall a fun little read and certainly considering that this was the debut novel by the author it was a job well done on his part and the novel is certainly one I would definitely recommend for a quick read if for nothing else

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