May 8, 2007

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride is a very well known story, and so I was familiar with names like Buttercups, Fezzik and Inigo Montoya. It was good to meet the characters who carry these names at last.

 

I really liked this book, but it was very different from what I expected. First of all, I didn’t know it was a story within a story, and I really liked the introduction in which Goldman presents the book as being by a fictional author, S. Morgensten, and as having changed his life.

Secondly, the story itself is much darker than I had expected. The tone is often humorous, and there are deliciously funny bits, but there are also nerve-wrecking moments, and the fact that more often than not things turn out more or less okay doesn’t make them any less terrible. Plus, the villains are genuinely chilling, and the whole concept of the “Zoo of Death” and “The Machine” is very disturbing.

But there are, of course, a lot of heart-warming moments as well. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Fezzik, and the whole background story of his live. And Inigo Montoya, of course, is a remarkable character.

As I said, William Goldman’s tone is delightful, and his “intrusions” were often funny. I have to confess, however, that towards the end they began to bother me, but that was probably because I wanted to see the story unfold so desperately. What bothered me the most was the long aside between the end of The Princess Bride and the start of “Buttercup’s Babe”, but again, it was probably because I was so anxious to know what happened next. But the way he brought in Stephen King really made me smile.

I was told that not all editions of this novel have this aside and the “first chapter” of the sequel, “Buttercup’s Babe”. Mine does, obviously, and while I liked seeing what happened after the almost frustratingly open ending of “The Princess Bride” itself, the way this “first chapter” ends is equally open. But after getting over the initial frustration, I can say I like the fact that it ended the way it did. I tend to like unconventional endings, after all.

Now I’m really looking forward to watching the movie at last (I know, I know) and seeing how this wonderful novel translates into the screen. I have no idea if the whole story within a story aspect of the book was maintained, or if the ending is as open as the book’s, and I’m very curious to find out.

Other Blog Reviews:
Adventures in Reading
Educating Petunia

14 comments:

  1. I've never read this one either! Great review though. I love this movie. It's one of my favorites and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I'm definitely going to have to read this one one of these days.

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  2. I love both the movie and the book. I'm revisiting this for the OUaT challenge - I have the same edition, it would seem. :)

    Glad you enjoyed the book. Hope you like the movie!

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  3. movie and book both good.

    glad you enjoyed :-D

    smaug

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  4. I love this movie, and a friend just gave me the book. Your review makes me want to jump right in and start reading!

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  5. I really want to see the movie, I think I'm going to order the DVD now so I can watch it sooner rather than later.

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  6. Oh....you SO have to see the movie. Instant Classic!! One of my all-time favorites!

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  7. This is one of my favorite movies! I've read the book but my edition didn't include Buttercup's Babe. I really need to pick it up and read the "sequel" sometime soon. Great review :)

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  8. Thank you! The chapter with the "sequel" is long-ish, and even if the ending is not exactly satisfying, I'd still say this edition is worth getting.

    Stephanie: I will very soon!

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  9. I was planning to read this book to my kiddos and then watch the movie as a family. But when my oldest received the movie for his birthday we watched it first. Of course we all loved it. I am very anxious to read the book. Don't forget to let us know what you think of the movie.

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  10. I will! Make sure you share your thoughts on the book a well.

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  11. The movie was one of my favorites as a teenager, though it's been years since I've seen it. I think I read the book once, but I don't remember much about it. I didn't even know there was a sequel. Thanks for reminding me about it.

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  12. Melissa, unfortunately the sequel is fictional: Goldman claims that S. Morgensten wrote it, and that after some complications with the lawyers of the Morgensten estate and with Stephen King, he was only allowed to abridge the first chapter, and that is all he presents. I was told that there were rumours that he would actually write the whole thing, but nothing so far :(

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  13. The movie is fantastic. It was the first time I had ever seen Mandy Patinkin. I've been afraid to read the book because quite often movies ruin the books for me. But your review may change my mind.

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  14. ever since hearing that the film was actually based on a book i've been wanting to read this. what i didn't expect was that there'd be depth and darkness to it. i certainly didn't expect the villains to be chilling!!

    where i was interested in reading it before i am doubly interested now! thanks for the cool review.

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