“The Princess Bride” by William Goldman
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Classics
(I think it’s self-explanatory but “re-reading” is a subset of book reviews for books that I have re-read.)
Summary from Goodreads:
What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?
As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the “S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.
Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.
What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.
In short, it’s about everything.
I hate to start a review off with a warning but it needs to be said. Much like the movie, the book is framed as a story within a story. The outer story is the running commentary from the “editor” (who is actually the author. There is only one story of The Princess Bride. Don’t try looking for the unabridged version, it doesn’t exist.). The “editor” comments on his background with the book and why he edits things from the story. The inner story is the actual story of The Princess Bride. I found the “editor’s” commentary pretty annoying. Please, please, please don’t let that stop you from reading the book. I read everything the first time I read the book. This time I just skimmed the commentary and actually read the real story. When and if you read this book, I would suggest at least trying to read or skim the commentary. If you’re not a fan, skip it and focus on the real story. You don’t need the commentary to understand the story.
Don’t feel late to the game if you’ve never read the book. To be honest, I really had no idea the movie was based on a book until I saw the book on display at the library last year. It’s not too late to pick up the book now!
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this book. It’s one of those books that makes me grin the entire time while reading it. I think everyone’s enjoyment hinges on how much they enjoy the movie. Love the movie? You’re going to enjoy the book. Don’t like the movie (???? how is that possible?)? You can probably skip the book. Personally, I love the movie so this book was a slam dunk with me.
Normally I don’t like romances in books but the romance here is so cheesy and sweet you can’t help but love it. Yes of course romances like Westley and Buttercup’s don’t usually exist. I know that. I’m not sitting around waiting for my Westley to come rescue me (though I wouldn’t turn him down if he showed up). I just appreciate the romance because it is so out there. I think the reason I enjoy their romance so much is because it’s like a fairy tale. I guess you could call this a “modern” fairy tale. Not to mention, I’ve basically grown up with this story so I’m very attached to them.
I didn’t think it would be possible to like Fezzik or Inigo any more but this book made love them. The author gives both characters a good back story. Both had difficult childhoods, which in most literature makes characters several times more likeable. I thought it was a bit odd that there was no back story for Vizzini but I’m really not a fan of him. I’ll deal with no back story for him. Westley even gets a bit of a back story.
The story is hilarious. I don’t read many humor books so this was new for me. It’s a good mix of the author trying to be funny and the author simply having a funny voice. There are so many actual “laugh out loud” moments in this book. I can’t even remember the last time a book that made me laugh this much. A few quotes that tickled my fancy:
“I only doggy paddle.”
“I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”
“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
(As you might notice, they made it into the movie!)
If they got rid of the commentary, this book would be perfect. It is a must read if you’re a fan of the the movie.
Overall, this is a great book for everyone. I don’t know if children could read the story very well by themselves but I think it’d be a good read aloud story for the family. (One or two “bad” words and a bit of violence. Really nothing worse than what’s in the movie.)