April 01, 2008

Review: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

I could not find a cover graphic like the one on my book which is a shame because I really like it. I also really liked the book.

For those of you that have been living in a cave for the last 20 years, The Princess Bride is a fairy tale story about lovers who must overcome many obstacles to be together, including the marriage of one and the death of the other. But these obstacles are nothing for the power of their love. It is very "70's Jewish humor" along the lines of Mel Brooks in perfect doses. It is also a story told within a story. In the movie it is a story being read by Columbo to his grandson, Fred Savage. This is in fact a device used in the book but altered a bit. The first 30 pages, not to mention all the introductions, are written by the author explaining how he came to "adapting" the book originally written by S. Morgenstern, a native of Florin, the main location of the book. All of this is bogus of course because there is no such country as Florin but for brief moments one actually believes maybe there really is. There is a lot of criticism of this technique but I enjoyed it. Reading the book, with all it's little interruptions was like talking with your old Uncle Lou who maybe embellishes stories sometimes and maybe he's had a little too much to drink, but you love listening to his stories none the less.

If you are at all worried about the book not living up to the movie's character, fear not. There are differences, certainly, like getting to learn the histories of Inego and Fezzik, but the book has exactly the same flavor as the movie but with a little more detail. It you love the movie, I would highly recommend you read the book too.

I can't say it was a great choice for a book discussion group, even with the questions at the back of the book, but it was just right for the Once Upon a Time II Challenge. If you are participating, consider adding this one to the list. And if you're not participating, you don't know what you're missing.

13 comments:

Rhinoa said...

I love the film and watched it again not long ago. I have had the book for ages and for some reason have never gotten around to reading it. Thanks for the push to put it on my list for extras this year.

Jeane said...

I love this movie and have seen it probably fifty times! But it's the kind of thing I love to watch and just doesn't entertain me as much when reading. I don't know why. Maybe it would have been different if I'd read the book first? (Which I usually try to do).

Francesca (Scribacchina) said...

Hi Petunia, nice blog! I arrived here via the Once Upon a Time reviews blog and am very glad to read your review of Princess Bride. I loved the movie (seen it so many times I know it by heart, actually) so last year when a new Italian edition of the book was released I decided to read it. I was afraid I would skip passages, for it was so parallel to the movie, and I decided to read it aloud with my sweetheart, alternating voices; it was a great experience! (No need to do that, in the end, as it is so much fun you would not skip it... The hard part was to find another book to go after that...)

Becky said...

I read this last year and enjoyed it. There were a few subtle differences from the movie. While I'll always love the movie a bit more, I enjoyed the book too.

Petunia said...

Rhinoa-glad to be of service. =)

Jeane-this book almost seems like a novelisation of a movie. I can see how that could be a turn off.

Francesca-I tried reading it aloud to my kids but they lost interest by the time I got to the actual story of Buttercup. Once the story starts it would make for a very humorous read aloud.

Becky-I did like the movie better too but my favorite part is the backgrounds of Inego and Fezzik so I am very glad I read the book.

Robin said...

I absolutely loved the movie and have had this book on my shelf for a number of years. It's time to read it!
Thanks!

Nymeth said...

"All of this is bogus of course because there is no such country as Florin but for brief moments one actually believes maybe there really is."

lol, so true. I also think that the technique worked perfectly. It's a lovely book.

Trish said...

I've said this before, but I love love love this movie--maybe my favorite? definitely top 5. I have been a little scared of reading the book, but I'd like to one day. Sometimes intrusive narrations work for me (The Unbearable Lightness of Being), but sometimes not. Hmm...

Carl V. said...

I too really enjoyed the way this book started and the structure of the novel. I read it before the movie originally came out and love both the book and the film. The film has a special place in our hearts because it was my and my wife's first ever date movie back when we were in college. It always brings us good memories when we see it.

Table Talk said...

With reference back to last Sunday, a good deal of the film was shot in Castleton in Derbyshire, where my partner was living at the time. There is a whole network of caves up there in the limestone which was useful for the underground scenes.

Anonymous said...

both the book and movie are stellar! did you hear they are making a videogame based on it? www.princessbridegame.com...

Ana said...

I loved the book as much as I love the movie and to be honest I even thought it was all true - Florin and the author , etc LOL. I even looked it upon on wikipedia. I am so gullible. LOL

Kate said...

Hi! I'm really late to this one but found your blog via Semicolon's weekly roundup - I just had to drop into this one since I adore the movie and loved the book even more. I read the book sometime waaaaay after seeing the movie too, and loved how much more you got from the book - all the background, the characters, and the incessant lists. Oy vey! Loved it. And I also know at least three very intelligent people who are still looking for S. Morgenstern's version :) I just don't say anything.