Cameron’s Review of The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Book Description by 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.
What can you say about a novel that has been a favorite of readers for well over 30 years, has been made into a movie that is quoted by fans worldwide, and offers everything from comedy, adventure, romance, and more? Well words like wonderful, superb, and outstanding only just begin to scratch the surface on describing how magical this book really is.
Printed in 1973, Goldman’s classic novel is supposedly an abridged version of The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure. But good luck finding the original unabridged version. Wink, wink.
Sadly I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for well over ten years and have never once read it. Until now that is. With a bit of urging from author Sarwat Chadda, I finally decided to unearth my copy from its dusty nook and give it a read. And I’m glad I did because I thoroughly enjoyed it. Course, having the movie version playing out in my head as I read my favorite scenes helped.
Honestly this book is brilliant. The characters are memorable, the humor is rich and laugh worthy, and despite the fact that I found the author interruptions to be jarring at times (and by the way, the author himself says you can skip these if necessary) I really enjoyed reading the book. Actually, I’m rather ashamed that it took me so long to finally read it. Especially having grown up with the movie version, which I will review momentarily.
Yes, reading this book brought everything that I loved about the movie back to me, but with extended scenes and added events.
What ever happened to Fezzik and Inigo after The Man in Black defeated them? What made Prince Humperdinck choose Buttercup to be his bride? What is the point of the rhyming game between Inigo and Fezzik, beyond humor that is? Why exactly was Miracle Max fired?
All these questions were answered as I read. Plus I had an extra scene with my two favorite characters, Inigo and Fezzik, as they journeyed through The Zoo of Death, which in the movie is called The Pit of Despair. I don’t know why this scene never made it into the movie version, but I found it interesting.
In the end, I fear that as much as I enjoyed it, I can only give it four paws. If I had to be honest with myself, of which I am, most of my enjoyment came from my previous knowledge of the movie. I found myself anticipating when I was going to be reading my favorite scenes, or envisioning the characters as I know them from the movie, voice and all. Plus I really found the author interruptions annoying. I think that should I ever decide to read the book again, I will skip these moments.
So if you are trying to decide which to do first, I would suggest reading the book before seeing the movie. This way you can envision the characters in your own way and then be surprised at just how perfect a job the movie does in depicting the characters.