Tuesday, September 20, 2011

William Goldman's The Princess Bride

The story of William Goldman's The Princess Bride is a classic for anyone who has seen the movie.  It has everything one could want in an adventure story -- sword fights, a giant, strategic thinking, deadly creatures, a princess, a pirate, and true love.  Add in some incredibly humorous descriptions and dialogue and the book should be a best seller.  Unfortunately this is one case where I think the movie vastly outshines the book.

Oh all the good parts are in the book.  Some of the best lines in the movie are taken straight out of the book.  The action, the adventure, and the emotion are all there.  It isn't what is missing from the book that is the problem - it is the extras that are included.  William Goldman constantly interrupts the main story to interject what is supposed to be the tale of his first having heard this story read by his father when he was sick as a child.  These interruptions really bothered me while reading this book.  Perhaps the feelings of irritation with the author came from the introductory section when his description of himself was not very likeable.  After hearing how he considered cheating on his wife and his feelings about his son, I didn't really care to hear his thoughts on the actual story.  As I was reading the book, I found myself wondering if these asides were even a true story or if everything in the introduction and interruptions was made up as well.  Although it has been a while since I have seen the movie, I do remember the grandfather reading the book to the boy and the occasional flash back to these scenes which took the viewer away from the main action.  I do not remember these asides bothering me nearly as much as the italic sections in the book!

One advantage that the book does have over the movie is that we learn a lot more about the pasts of the individual characters.  Buttercup, Fezzik, and Inigo all have their stories told.  This allows for deeper character development than is shown in the movie but does not substantially change the over all story.

If Goldman had stuck with the story of Westley, Buttercup, Prince Humperdinck, and the rest, leaving out the bits about his childhood, I would have enjoyed it much more.  As it is, I'll stick with the movie.

Although this book has been sitting on our bookshelf for so long that neither my husband or I can remember who it belonged to initially, this is the first time I have actually read it (and I'm pretty sure he never has).  I read it while participating in the Reading with Tequila Book Club on Goodreads.  No one associated with the book had any expectations of a review.

For another review of The Princess Bride, check out this one at Reading with Tequila.



 
Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Bookstore links are generally affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.