I’ve put this review up again as for some reason the tile was constantly showing the wrong image
‘It’s still my favourite book in all of the world
And more than ever I wish I had written it. Sometimes I like to fantasize that I did, that I came up with Fezzik (my favourite character), that my imagination summoned the iocane sequence, the ensuing battle of wits to the death.’
Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts – who never leaves survivors – her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairytale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles.
What I thought:
So I have to start this review with a shameful confession. I’ve never actually seen The Princess Bride. It’s one of those films that I always mean to watch but just haven’t yet. Before I read this book I knew the vague plot along with some of the most famous quotes in all of cinema history ‘My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father prepare to die’ along with ‘as you wish it’ to name just two. I found reading this book was not just enjoyable but fun as well, and I might have slightly squealed with excitement when I reached the famous points while in the lunch break room at work. But by this point people had got so used to me making noises in reaction to parts of books that no one really cared and I just had to lift the book to show them what I was reading for them to understand. And in a couple of cases they repeated the line back at me which made me grin, a lot, before diving back into the book.
This is just a fun book and the way it is written is pure genius, I’ve never seen it’s like before. Framing books are out of fashion now anyway but this is far beyond that, it’s written as an abridgment of a much longer version of the story written by Morgenstern. Goldman jumps between bits and over things that he considers ‘boring’, this means that every scene has something exciting happening, or has a little post note on saying that he skipped the two months where Buttercup learns how to be the perfect princess. It’s not an exciting bit to write or read so he tell us that it happened and gives a brief overview of it but nothing else. The introduction on the 25th anniversary edition that I read starts with Goldman wishing that he’d come up with the story himself and talking about how he bored his favourite teacher with always mentioning how much he loved Morgenstern along with how proud he was when they agreed that he could write this abridgment. As a way of story writing it’s perfect, let’s him play with the story to his hearts content but also means that if there was a bit of plot he wasn’t interested in he didn’t need to write it.
And the characters, these characters have a special place in our hearts from the cult film (even those of us who haven’t watched it but have seen enough screenshots/memes of it). Particularly Dread Pirate Roberts, Fezzik and Inigo Montoya. The characters have depth to them the moment when Inigo thinks he is finally about to get his revenge is heartwarming and when things don’t go to plan it hurts. When things don’t go to plan for any of them it hurts, because you understand them and you want things to go well. I’m not fussed about Buttercup as a character but she is in no sense of the word a wilting daisy. She might need to be rescued a few times but she has her own strengths.
Why I read it:
I was talking to my sister about how it’s the top film in my list of things to watch that I haven’t got round to. At which point she went to her room, pulled it off the bookcase and put it in my hands. I have to admit I didn’t read it straight away because there are always other books. But I still read it pretty soon after, maybe a month or two later…
Good fun cult book, genius premise and really well written. I haven’t read any other of Goldman’s books but they are now on the TBR.
Would I recommend: YES
Popsugar: A book that you borrowed/given as a gift.
Read Harder: Classic Genre Fiction.
As always let me know what you think of the book or the film, and if my review has made you want to read it.