The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Here William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers finally receives a beautiful illustrated treatment.
A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts — The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.
As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchman, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini—the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik—the gentle giant; Inigo—the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen—the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.
The book opens with author William Goldman telling how his father would read to him as a young child. One story he would read was titled The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern, a man from Florin. Goldman loved the story so much as a child, so he decides to give a copy to his ten-year-old son on his tenth birthday. Jason, his son, can’t seem to get into the story at all, and Goldman soon realizes that this isn’t the same story his father told him. This book has incredibly uninteresting parts that Goldman doesn’t recall. So, he begins to retell the story by creating a whole new book with only the good stuff.
Now we begin to read The Princess Bride— a story about a girl named Buttercup, one of the most beautiful women in the world. Buttercup loves demanding the farm boy, Westley, to complete tasks. At one point, she realizes she might even love him. Soon the two admit their love for each other, and Westley sets off to seek his fortune so they can begin their life. Buttercup’s heart drops not long after when she hears that Westley was killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts–a mythical pirate who murders all. Buttercup vows that she will never love again, but she agrees to marry a prince for convenience. Was this a wise choice to make? Is Westley dead after all? There’s no telling what adventure awaits for Buttercup and the other characters in this story.
Story: I’ve always loved fairy tales, and of course, this story is enjoyable. The Princess Bride wasn’t as fairytale-like this time around like it was the first time I read it as a younger reader. It’s very similar to the movie but much more descriptive. It’s exciting, comical at times, and full of action. This time around, I wasn’t feeling the ‘true love’ between Buttercup and Westley, and I also forgot how adventurous and comical it is. The film seems to do a much better job on the love story than the book–among other things as well. The cliffhanger ending had my jaw on the floor, no joke. I’m still not even sure how to feel about it because there are multiple possibilities of what could’ve happened, and it niggled at me. It’s interesting how what you expect to happen in the story isn’t what happens at all. This is a fantasy, and you must suspend disbelief at times. But there are also constant reminders that life isn’t perfect, and things aren’t always going to be okay.
Characters: The characters, in some ways, are lacking. We don’t learn that much about Buttercup other than the fact that she isn’t perfect. She may be beautiful, but she has some self-consciousness and jealousy, which is very different from the brave character portrayed in the movie. Book Buttercup is different and not as likable, in my opinion; she even annoyed me at times with the decisions she makes. Westley’s much more aggressive in the book, and he even strikes Buttercup, which was a mere warning of just raising his hand to her in the film. Was this meant to be funny? I didn’t think so; in fact, it was confusing. I do understand that the book is meant to be humorous. Other characters were more richly drawn, including Fezzik, Inigo, and Prince Humperdinck. Fezzik turned out to be my favorite character after all, and if you want to learn more about this gentle giant, you won’t want to miss out on reading this book. The illustrations turned out to be few and far between, but it was still neat to visualize the characters.
Writing: The writing is smooth and easy to read, but the format takes some getting used to. You could technically skip the author’s commentary altogether and just read the story of Buttercup and Westley. I took the time to read the author’s thoughts when it was interesting. Some people may love the constant going back and forth, and this story is truly one-of-a-kind, but the commentary doesn’t work for my brain very well. I just wanted the story most of the time because being taken out of the story was distracting.
Should you read it? It’s hard to say. The Princess Bride was a reread for me, and I forgot so much of the content. I had a love/hate relationship with the constant commentary by the author. It essentially is a fictional story about a fictional story, and the author is constantly putting his two cents in by talking about what he took out (when he wrote it) and why. Goldman shares opinions on what’s happening in the story written by S. Morgenstern (who’s fictional as well, by the way). He also shares stories about his family, although that may be fictional too. I found myself skimming over the first half of his excerpts, but then parts of the second half felt necessary, especially in the end. Even though the movie does follow the book fairly closely with plot and characters, the film has more of a fairy tale feel to it, and cannot be compared. With that said, the book has more on the characters and more depth that the movie doesn’t, including detailed histories for Fezzik and Inigo and a continuation of the story into Buttercup’s and Westley’s future together. So, therefore I say, true fans of the film should probably read the book!
- Publisher : Mariner Books; Illustrated edition (January 1, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 496 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0544173767
- ISBN-13 : 978-0544173767
Thanks for reading my review of The Princess Bride. Have you read this book? Do you love the film? Let’s chat in the comment section!