Title: The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure; The “Good Parts” Version
Author: William Goldman
No. of Pages: 290
“What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?
As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.
Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.
What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.
In short, it’s about everything.”
Thoughts: The Princess Bride is one of my all-time favorite movies. From the first time I watched in, as a special treat in elementary school, I fell in love with this charming story filled with love, adventure, comedy, and so much more. No matter how often I view the movie, I continue to find it enjoyable and adorable. Like any good bibliophile, I have long desired to read the novel on which the movie is based. Now that I have done exactly that, I just want to forget that I ever read it and watch the movie a few hundred more times to scrub my brain from the annoying collection of words that is The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure; The “Good Parts” Version.
The biggest fault of the novel is that it tries too hard to be amusing. Goldman’s supposed autobiographical memories about being read the story as a child, his constant interruptions of the narrative, the idea that the story is actually a piece of non-fiction, his arrogance – all of it is a little too forced, too saccharin to be enjoyable. Goldman does not need to interject these bits of “truth” into the story, as the story itself works better without the interruptions and reminders that Goldman is responsible for compiling the good parts of the story. As a reader, there is no need to pretend that this is a work of non-fiction. I want to be swept away by a delightful story, not have that story broken up by asides from the author.
More importantly, Goldman, the narrator, is simply unlikable. He is arrogant and somewhat crass. His relationships with his wife and child are disturbing in the manner that he is constantly scoping out other women and gives his work priority over any member of his family. His need to share his thoughts with the reader, no matter how mundane, belies a level of self-absorption that detracts from the overall charm of the story.
The parts without Goldman’s interjections were exactly what I was hoping to find when reading the novel. I was impressed with just how closely the movie tied to the original story, and the changes that were made to the movie version did nothing but make it even more enjoyable. The novel itself is darker than the movie, in that Prince Humperdink is definitely a little more sadistic than even the movie portrays, and he has all the toys at his disposal to show the reader this. Still, the best scenes remain intact, and it was absolutely wonderful to see such memorable lines in print.
In my opinion, the tongue-in-cheek satire Goldman uses in The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure; The “Good Parts” Version to mock historians and history alike is unnecessary and does nothing but distract the reader from a great story. As a result, this is an example of the very infrequent scenario in which the movie adaptation is much better than the original print version of the story.
Acknowledgments: Mine. All mine.