A cult classic movie and a fantastic book, Goldman’s version of The Princess Bride is charmingly funny, romantic and action packed!
Not too long ago I was gifted a copy of The Princess Bride by a friend. The film version of The Princess Bride has been a favourite of mine for a long time, so I was naturally very excited to read the book.
I was first introduced to The Princess Bride in year eight by my English teacher at the time. We watched the Rob Reiner and William Goldman The Princess Bride film. I really don’t remember much of the specifics of why we watched it now (perhaps film analysis? Perhaps an end of term reward?) but from the first few minutes I was hooked. My experience of the book was similar. Read on for my full review.
What Is The Princess Bride about?
If you haven’t heard of The Princess Bride get ready.
Buttercup, a beautiful maiden has fallen in love with her farm boy, Westley. When he leaves her to make his fortunes she vows never to love anyone else. Her heart breaks when she hears that Westley’s ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never leaves any survivors.
It isn’t long until Buttercup’s beauty captures the attention of the prince Humperdink. He is relentless and sometimes cruel, but determined to have Buttercup as his wife and one day his queen.
This is the premise of this unique fairytale of good versus evil, with plenty of fencing, miracles, sword fighting, torture, posion, escapes and true love.
What I enjoyed about The Princess Bride?
William Goldman is in this book, and through the film, retelling the story of The Princess Bride by S.Morgenstern. In doing so, Goldman calls his The Princess Bride ‘The good parts’ version and intersperses the story with personal anecdotes.
These anecdotes some might find distract them from the story. For myself, having seen the film version many times, I enjoyed these moments of insight. It felt a little like being let behind the stage of a show, rather than ruining the magic of the film or story, it added to it.
Goldman is witty and clever, and engages with the story in a way that you know he deeply cares about it. I don’t know about you, but knowing an author cares about a story makes me care for it too. His reminiscence of what The Princess Bride story meant to his family over the years was emotionally touching.
The plot and characters in this book are vibrant and amusing. Goldman himself as he interjects is even more so. The book gave greater insight into character backgrounds which is missing in the film. In particular it was a joy to get to know Fezzik the Giant more through this book.
What I didn’t like about The Princess Bride
There were a few times where I wondered if Goldman interjected a little too much into the story. I would be lost in the plot when he would suddenly take me out of it with a sudden reminiscence. This is apparent in the film too if you’ve seen it.
While it’s not something I disliked, it did make this a more complex read than I anticipated. My mind jumped around a bit. I also found myself wondering what Goldman had chopped out from the original text by Morgenstern.
Goldman has been critiqued by some writers, even Stephen King (according to Goldman) for his handling of the original The Princess Bride text. That choice, of what to keep and what to cut or add is a big responsibility for writers to shoulder.
As readers, we must trust those who adapt other books to bring us either a new story, or a faithful adaptation. Not having read the original Morgenstern The Princess Bride I cannot speak for how well Goldman has done this. I do know, that Goldman has presented an entertaining and unique fairytale and preserved it in both film and book for generations to come to enjoy.
Fans of The Princess Bride film should read this book. It’s faithful to the movie in terms of plot, but will give you a deeper insight into some of your favourite characters. If you haven’t seen The Princess Bride, go do it! It’s great.
Fans of fairytales, or action romance reads will likely enjoy this book. It reminds me of how much I really enjoy adventure books. Another favourite film of mine is Stardust. I am looking forward to reading the Stardust book by Neil Gaiman. If you’ve read it, or The Princess Bride tell me what you liked or didn’t like in the comments below!
There has been recent talk of a rumoured reboot of The Princess Bride. This has been met with general outcry, because the film has been so well loved by so many people.
I’m curious to know, how do you feel about movie reboots? Or even retellings in books? There seems to be a lot of retellings of various fairytales in young adult fiction in the last few years. Do you enjoy this? Or do you skip in favour of an original story?
Thanks for reading the review today! Feel free to comment on this post and answer the above questions, or even tell me about what you’re #currentlyreading
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Until next week, happy reading!