Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review - The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern, edited by William Goldman

Usually I read the book before I see the movie. Among the few exceptions are Jaws, Dexter, and The Princess Bride. I read TPB for the first time in high school. I had just seen and fell in love with the movie, and in my experience the book is always better. In this case, I’m not sure that’s the case.

Don’t get me wrong - I love this book. The movie was so fantastic, however, it’s hard to compete with it! But there are always little things in a book that don’t show up in the movie, and that is the case here. In my recent reread of TPB, I noticed how much satire Goldman infuses throughout it. Much of that couldn’t be conveyed in the movie.

Also, a good portion of the story is told in the introduction in supposedly autobiographical detail of the struggle Goldman had in editing Morgenstern’s work. It’s quite an interesting story, but not at all real! I didn’t get it when I read this as a teenager. I thought if it was an introduction by the author, it was all true. Nope, it was part of the story. See, there is no S. Morgenstern. And the difficulties Goldman described with Morgenstern’s estate (not to mention personal trials with his family) simply didn’t exist. He even goes so far as to add Stephen King into the tale, saying that the Morgenstern family had hired him to edit the sequel, Buttercup’s Baby. As you’ve probably guessed, there is no sequel – at least not until Goldman writes it, and it seems he has a bit of writer’s block when it comes to The Princess Bride. I probably would too. What can you write to follow such a popular novel that would satisfy the fans? I still hold out hope he will eventually finish it, because I’d love to read Buttercup’s Baby!

If you enjoy the movie, I think you’d like the book as well. You always get more detail in the book, and The Princess Bride is no exception. Do you want to know what’s so special about those four white horses Fezzik finds at the end of the movie? Do you want to know what led Rugen and Humperdinck to create the Pit of Despair? Do you want to learn how Inigo became the best fencer in the world? Pick up the book and let me know what you think!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is a reenactment of the Miracle Max scene with cats:

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