The Princess Bride (in movie form) is one of those cross-genre films
that everyone loves—it’s a comedic, action-packed fairytale about
true love (or should I say “twoo wuv”?). I must say I count it among
Well, the book’s even better than the movie.
I loved the characters of Wesley (farm boy-turned-pirate, hero, and romantic
male lead), Buttercup (beautiful farm girl-turned-princess, heroine, and romantic
female lead), Inigo (best sword fighter in the world), and Fezzik (best fighting
giant in the world), as well as Vezzini, the evil hunter Prince Humperdinck and
all the rest. Therefore, I was excited to find them more fully explored in the
book. For example, you get to hear more about how Inigo and Fezzik grew up and
why Humperdinck built The Zoo of Death. This is truly great stuff.
Even more fun is that the whole story has this supposedly autobiographical
framework around it in which William Goldman (quite convincingly) tells you
how he came to “abridge” the book for a general audience. He explains
that his dad used to read him this book by S. Morganstern when he was a kid,
and tells how when he grew up he discovered that his dad had only read him the
“good parts” of the book—that the “original” was
goes into great detail about his supposed abridgement work, and peppers the
story throughout with his comments on the material he “left out.”
Even if it can get a bit self-conscious at times, this stuff is hilarious and
it does a great job of poking fun of the hard-to-read aspects of literature.
Besides, it’s a great story, and the frameworking was so realistic that
my cynical self was almost convinced.
Oh, and make sure to pick up the 25th Anniversary Edition—there’s
a first chapter from the “long-lost sequel,” Buttercup’s
Baby. The chapter itself is good, but not nearly as amusing as the long drawn-out
story about how that abridgement supposedly came to be. All I’ll say is
that it involved a meeting with Stephen King, who felt that Goldman had “cut
out the soul” of the “classic story” in the original novel…
If the movie is worth owning your own copy (and it definitely is), then this
book deserves a place of honor on a shelf very nearby.