The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride is one of those books that I kept seeing reviews for (whilst looking out for other books) which simply state ‘you must read this book, it’s a classic’ and yet for some reason I kept putting the experience off – I think primarily because it’s one of those bug bears of mine about having to read the book before I see the film so that I use my own imagination and in this case as I’ve already seen the film (a number of times) reading it broke my golden rule.  What the hell, rules are made for breaking after all and so I finally went there.  And, I’m so glad that I did.  All you reviewers who insist this book should be read – you’re just so right.  It was brilliant, and the fact that I’d already seen the film didn’t deter from my enjoyment, in fact it added to it and I found myself picturing some of the scenes and reading the characters with the actor’s voices in my head.  I will admit, I was predisposed to like this book, so maybe I’m biased, but I really did love it.

Where to begin about this book.  It’s really a story within a story I suppose.  It’s a fairy tale that isn’t a fairy tale and it’s an abridged version of a much longer book (that doesn’t actually exist).  The full premise of it is brilliant.  I enjoyed all the little sections where Goldman explains his reasons for the changes or where he reflects back to when his father originally read him the story (which of course he didn’t!)  There is so much going on.  Pirates, princes and princesses, villains, swashbuckling, swordfighting, kidnap, romance, creepy forests, giants, and on and on…..  but, the absolute star of this book, without a doubt, is the humour it contains.  It made me laugh quite unreservedly (and in public on the bus which is a bit embarassing!)

The film veers very little from the original text with much of the story being replicated virtually word for word so if you love the film it’s a sure thing that you’ll love the book as it brings a bit more detail to each of the characters, a missing scene in a Zoo of Death and a bit of an explanation for the Prince’s desire to create war with Guilder – I loved the scene when he found his first potential ‘bride to be’ until the scene with the feast when her hat blows off!

In terms of the characters I’ve practically been having a fight with myself over my favourite.  I still can’t make my mind up!  Fezzik is so funny with his little rhymes.  Inigo with his sword fighting and his show stealing ‘Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!’ scene, but  my favourite character, I think, (or at least right now but I may revisit) is Westley because I love the dialogue attached to this character – so dry!

Don’t be put off thinking that this is a book aimed at young audiences, and, unlike me, don’t be put off if you’ve already seen the film!  The book brings so much more to it.  I think if you’ve seen the film and loved it you will be made up with the book and vice versa.  If you haven’t read or seen either – then run out now and buy them both because you’re in for a treat, particularly if you like a good adventure story, well told with plenty of humour.

I would definitely recommend this book and know for a fact that this is one novel that I will dip back in to.

Rating A

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

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7 Responses to “The Princess Bride by William Goldman”

  1. Carl V.

    I am happy to see your reaction to the book. I ended up picking it up on a whim one day, well before the film’s release, and just loved it. I especially enjoyed reading the description of the sword fight between Montoya and the Dread Pirate Roberts, aka, Wesley. The image that conjured in my head was so exciting. I remember being thrilled when they made a film version of it and was especially pleased with the result.

    Princess Bride, the film, has the distinction of being the first film my now wife and I saw together on our first date. So it holds a very special place in our hearts.

    • lynnsbooks

      So cool, you and your wife have a history with The Princess Bride! I really DO love that film. It’s another one that I can watch again and again and still never fail to enjoy – I think I can now add the book to that – it’s going to be one of those books that I will just dip in and out of certain chapters. I just love the dialogue – frankly, it’s inconceivable not to!
      Not entirely sure I understood all the different levels of books within books but I enjoyed Goldman’s commentary.
      Lynn 😀

      • Carl V.

        I remember having a bit of a hard time getting past the initial part of the book, but I’m glad I stuck with it because it was well worth it.

  2. Tanya M

    I actually owe Cornelia Funke for this. I was reading Inkheart, and every time I came across a Princess Bride quote, I’d make a mental note to get it. I had to really search, though. While reading it, I think I laughed at least twice on every page. Even now, even when I’ve read this so many times, it still cracks me up. Definitely one of my favourites. 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      Cornelia Funke is definitely somebody who is going on the list then. The Princess Bride is absolutely awesome (and i don’t usually use that word but it’s so appropriate here!)
      I was laughing at the Princess Bride on the bus, in work, in bed, in the garden! It was ridiculous and embarrasing. Plus I kept doing that really annoying thing (for everyone else anyway) where you keep obliging them with little snippets that you find funny and are somehow confounded when they don’t share your humour!
      Lynn 😀
      An absolute must.

      • Tanya M

        Haha! I was doing that, too! 😀
        I carry a book with me everywhere I go and everyone who knows me GROANS when they see me with The Princess Bride. I just sit there, chuckling to myself, occasionally (read: very often) laughing loudly and quoting it to whoever I thought would get it – but of course, they just stared at me because they didn’t know what the hell I was talking about and always asked me somethig silly like who Buttercup was. By which time, I’d have moved on and started quoting another bit. And I keep laughing hysterically while doing all this quoting, so I doubt anyone understands what I’m saying, really.
        That bit with the Countess always sends me over the edge. “It must be his teeth. The farm boy did have good teeth, give credit where credit was due.” 😀
        Oh, and Cornelia Funke makes for great Children’s Fantasy. Even though the Inkheart-Inkspell-Inkdeath series is what she’s most famous for, Thief Lord was my favourite.

      • lynnsbooks

        Inconceivable!
        Lynn 😀

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