As a child, William Goldman loved hearing his father read the "S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride." When he grew up and got his own copy, however, he found that Morgenstern's story wasn't precisely the one he recalled. Apparently his Dad had carefully omitted the boring parts as he read. So Goldman decided to reconstruct his father's version of the tale-the "Good Parts Version"...
Buttercup, a farm girl in the kingdom of Florin (between what's now Sweden and Germany; this was before Europe), wasn't the world's most beautiful woman at age 15, nor even the third most beautiful nor the sixth. In point of fact, she was barely in the top 20, and that based on potential, for she hated fussing over her looks. What she liked to do was to ride her horse, and taunt the farm boy.
The horse came when she called it and went where she steered it. Yet the farm boy, Westley-a young man actually-was even more obedient. "Farm Boy, fetch me this," Buttercup would say; "Get me that, Farm Boy...." No matter what she demanded, he always answered simply, "As you wish."
At least, that's what she thought. He was really saying "I love you," but it wasn't until she'd turned 17 that Buttercup heard him right.
A farm boy has limited prospects, and thus on the very day Buttercup declared her heart, Westley left for America, promising to send for her when he'd made his fortune. Alas, word came not long after: the Dread Pirate Roberts had attacked Westley's ship. And as everyone knew, Roberts never left survivors.
Buttercup died then. Oh, her body remained in excellent working order and she moved up the ranks of the world's great beauties to #1. But her life lost all meaning. That's why she agreed to marry Prince Humperdinck.
Humperdinck considered Buttercup's beauty a tribute to his own perfection. Besides which, he knew it would impress the people of Florin, who'd demand vengeance when she was killed by a foreign assassin-as Humperdinck had arranged. For he planned to make himself the most powerful King in all Florinese history...
So! Are you ready for Fencing and Fighting? True Love, Strong Hate and Harsh Revenge? A Giant, Lots of Bad Men, Lots of Good Men, plus Rodents of Unusual Size? Not to mention Death, Lies, Truth and Miracles? It's all here! (255 pp.)
Hardcover Book : 264 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich ( January 01, 1973 )
Item #: 10-061646
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.625inches
Product Weight: 12.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Since I read this book as part of a challenge that stipulated also watching the related film, I'll be discussing both the novel and the movie in this review.
I did really enjoy this novel, Goldman's story-telling skills and humor make this a highly entertaining and enjoyable read. The fact that he also wrote the screen-play for the movie speaks highly to the fact that the movie follows the novel very closely with only a few omissions and changes in order to provide a better flow to the film due to time constraints. That all being said however, the two being so closely related does seem to diminish the overall experience of whichever format an individual happens to encounter second. By that I mean, that if you've read and loved the novel, there really are no real surprises in the film and (as in my case) if you've seen the movie multiple times, a large chunk of the book is immediately recognizable even down to word-for-word conversations between characters.
The main things that I took out of reading the novel for the first time were the background stories of Fezzick and Inigo which really fleshed out their characters and were a wonderful addition to my previous knowledge of the film. I also enjoyed the information and adventures contained within Prince Humperdink's private zoo which in the film is reduced to only a "Pit of Despair."
Overall, I did really enjoy both the novel and the film and if you have only been exposed to one or neither of them, I would highly recommend becoming familiar with both as they are both top notch.
Excellent book; I of course grew up with the Princess Bride, but reading the book filled in quite a few little details I had missed from the movie, adding more flavor to a classic. And it wasn't originally the "shrieking eels"... read for yourselves :)
Reviewer: Jon B
Read this book in one night and enjoyed the movie just as much. I purchased it again in hardback. I plan to can save it so when I have grandchildren, I can read it to them.
Reviewer: Luis E
The book was great. I am a huge fan of the movie, and the book includes some extra information which they couldn't fit into the screen play. I do like Goldman's version- Morganstein included lots of extra satire, which would be difficult to understand in this century. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good love story.
Reviewer: Melanie T
It's a complete classic, and after watching the movie while I was growing up, I just had to read the book. I'm so glad that I finally got to. However, I think I could have gone without the interjections from Mr. Goldman; they were annoying and interrupted my excitement and momentum for the story. Either way, I recommend it for those who love fairy tales, adventures, and action!
Reviewer: Samantha C