16 August 2006
Book Banter -- The Princess Bride
Yes. It was a book before it was a movie.
Word Nerd first read the book of Princess Bride when she was in, oh, probably middle school. As a kid (ok, now, still) she's a fan of the movie. The characters in the book are all the actors in the movie at least in Word Nerd's brain. But first time through the book, Word Nerd didn't like it because author William Goldman kept interrupting.
This time, those interruptions brought some of the best laughs in the book.
Goldman, for those of you unfamiliar with the book version, claims that he's abridging The Princess Bride from S. Morgenstern's version, cutting out Morgenstern's boring parts about politics and history and leaving "the good parts version" of the story with all the fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, chases, escapes, true love (err... sorry, channeling the movie there).
From time to time in the book, Goldman breaks into the story talking about discussions with his editors on what to cut or recollections from his childhood when his dad was reading him what he's trying to recreate in the "good parts version." These interjections are clearly the basis in the movie for the dialogue between the grandfather and the kid. But in the book, they are hysterical (at least to Word Nerd) because several of them poke fun at exactly what frustrates Word Nerd about reading all the old classics (who cares about the queen packing and unpacking all her hats!... get on with it!)
While the interjections are funny, it's really the Princess Bride story itself that's so enchanting. It's a fairy tale, but with a great point: Life isn't fair. The bad guys, sometimes, get away. True love doesn't necessarily triumph.
Word Nerd picked up Princess Bride this time around because it felt unfair to read another chick lit mystery right after reading Janet Evanovich... the other book just couldn't get a fair shake following her. What she found was a book that's going to take a place among the others that she regularly rereads because of its comedy and humanity.
Title: The Princess Bride
Author: William Goldman
Length: 398 pages (including the first chapter of the long-lost sequel, "Buttercup's Baby")
Screencaps from the movie.