The Princess Bride by William Goldman

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First of all, why have I been lied to for the better part of my childhood/adulthood? I loved this movie, as it was hilarious and it provided so many kid-friendly quotes pre-Mean Girls and it has true love, adventure, princesses, pirates, revenge, and ROUS’s. Really how could anyone not love this story? So imagine me, the book nerd that I am, when I was in high school and I found out that it was also a book; I was rather ecstatic and couldn’t wait to check it out. But then I find out it’s an abridged version. At the time, I knew it was for the best since the story was, theoretically, more enjoyable, but I still wanted to find the unabridged version. So I scoured the libraries in and out of my network as well as Barnes and Noble. But alas, I couldn’t find it, so I left myself to be content with the abridged version and reread that several times.

Fast forward to now. After getting my Goodreads account, I remembered The Princess Bride and decided to reread it again. For fun, I decided to go through the reviews and agree with all those who gave it 4+ stars, and imagine my surprise when I came upon a comment/review that said that the whole “abridged version” story was fake! And to check Wikipedia for proof (because it’s just so reliable)! So I found the Wikipedia article and proceeded to be just shocked at the fact that Morgenstern never existed, neither was there an unabridged version. Even Goldman’s family in the book is fake! The entire thing, editor’s cuts and all, was written by Goldman. I have to admit though, I admire the genius behind the whole idea, but I only hope that I wasn’t the only one who was fooled. But, the lies behind the making of the novel have not lessened my love for it.

The Princess Bride is one of the only book/movie combos that I genuinely love, where they complement each other beautifully. I said before that I loved the movie as a child, but after reading the book, I loved and appreciated the movie even more. Plus, the movie gave an added visualization that didn’t distract me while reading the book. The only thing that the movie is lacking (this is a minor point) are some of those hilarious parenthetical remarks and other quotes throughout the book. Below are some of my favorites; I didn’t include a few of the well-known ones (INCONCEIVABLE!) because we all see those everywhere.

“…back in the safety of her murderers…” (after Buttercup’s failed attempt at escaping her kidnappers. I just loved this line)

“Love is many things, none of them logical.”

“Life is pain, anybody that says different is selling something.” (not actually said by Westley as it was in the movie, but rather, by Fezzik’s parents)

“You’ll put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword and we’ll try to kill each other like civilized people?” (I feel like there’s lesson somewhere in here….)

“You are trying to kidnap what I have rightfully stolen, and I think it quite ungentlemanly.”

“Some of the wrong people die.” (definitely a lesson here)

“I…AM…THE QUEEEEEEEEEN” (one of the best quotes by Buttercup in the whole book)

Another thing I’d like to mention briefly is the role of Buttercup. It’s pretty obvious that she’s the damsel in distress, and even from the beginning, I got the sense that she wasn’t all that bright. Her only source of living fulfillingly is true love, and when that is taken away, she essentially dies inside and doesn’t really give the future all that much thought. Even when Westley comes back near the end (and also in the extra chapter, Buttercup’s Baby), Buttercup basically does nothing. She only provides some sort of plot element in the group’s escape past the prison guards when she uses her royal authority. My only wish to make the book even better would be to have Buttercup do more. She doesn’t need to go conquer the seven seas or anything, just be more than a prop, than something to rescue. Throughout, she just kind of drifts along where people tell her to go, do what others tell her to do; I think the only things she directly influenced were her suicide (all Romeo and Juliet like), and her “I AM THE QUEEEEEN” cry to get them past the palace guards. And maybe her resolution to take care of herself more to be beautiful for Westley. Then again, I’ve never really seen Buttercup as the main character, always Westley and Prince Humperdinck. So when I’ve read it before, I never expected her to do much. But now I wish that she would.

And then I remember that this is a work of fiction (and a fairy-tale no less) written several years ago and why on earth would Goldman rewrite it just to appease my problems when the book is obviously not meant to be taken too seriously. I think the names of the fictional countries are adequate proof of this (seriously, the names are of historical currencies, guilders and florins, and young little me thought they were real. How did I not realize this?)

Still, it’s a great book, one that I will continue to reread and probably definitely introduce it to my future children.

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