William Goldman's modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about quests?for riches, revenge, power, and, of course, true love?that's thrilling and timeless. Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible?inconceivable, even?to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you'll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an "abridged" retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that's home to "Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions."
Original publication date
The "Princess Bride" story is about the love between Wesley, a poor farm boy, and Buttercup, the most beautiful girl in the world (without, sadly, wits to match.) They are separated, first by exaggerated rumors of Wesley's death, then Buttercup being chosen as evil Prince Humperdinck's bride - a job that she, unknowingly, is not meant to fill for long. Through the couple's adventures we also meet two great characters: Inigo Montoya, a drunken, but talented, swordsman hell-bent to avenge his fathers murder at the six-fingered hands of Count Rugen. Fezzik, a strong, gentle giant with an affinity for rhyming, gets a better backstory than the film had time for. Together, the characters help to right wrongs, and promote true love. Schmaltzy? The characters are far from perfect, and their flaws are humerously pointed out, yet not viciously mocked.
Meanwhile, the author interjects his points throughout the story. These interruptions are the source of much humor, and keep the novel from being just another fairy tale. Goldman, as a character in his own novel, is constantly nitpicking at Morgenstern's story, telling us what he "took out" and why (like eliminating numerous pages on the subject of packing for a trip.) He'll butt in to tell us glaring errors, or parts his wife didn't like, or parts he discovered his father changed when the story was read to the author as a child. We get to enjoy the story on many levels.
My edition had the extra delight of including a map of Florin and Guilder, with major plot points illustrated upon it. Anyone who liked the movie will surely enjoy this edition.
As most people will know, The Princess Bride is a satirical take on fairytale tradition, ‘abridged’ from a larger fictional work by ‘S. Morgenstern’. One of the real delights in the book is how convincing Goldman is about the existence of the fictional country of Florin and about Morgenstern’s style as a writer. There are brilliantly executed editorial sections scattered throughout the novel detailing his decisions to cut various parts of the ‘original’. It really is no wonder that so many readers hit the bookshops looking for Morgenstern’s version!
The story itself is famous for its brilliant wit and its cast of wonderful characters. At its heart is the story of the Princess Buttercup and her true love, the farm boy Westley. Around that heart is built a complex web involving pirates, sword-fights, an evil prince, a benevolent king, revenge, monsters and betrayal. There is a Zoo of Death and a terrifying Dread Pirate Roberts, an albino and a miracle man, giant rats and Cliffs of Insanity. Of course, I couldn’t forget the wonderful trio, Vizzini the Sicilian (the criminal mastermind), Inigo the Spaniard (the master fencer) and Fezzik the Giant (the rhyming fighter), each with their own journeys to make.
I could go on forever but the truth is, it’s really one of those books that works better if you just pick it up, settle in for the ride and find out for yourself. If you’ve seen the movie, now read the book; if you’ve not heard of either, what are you waiting for?! You’re in for a real treat – and it’s definitely a keeper for me.
Of course, it could be argued that all fiction is made up of lies, lies that mask some central truth (or simply
The story itself is what everyone who has seen the movie will remember it being: a “classic tale of true love and high adventure,” with a huge spoonful of humor ladled on. The “big scenes” are all here—the Cliffs of Despair, the Fire Swamp, the rescue attempt—and so are the characters—Buttercup, Westley, Inigo, Fezzik, Prince Humperdinck, Mad Max, you name ‘em.
But what’s really fascinating are the things that didn’t make it into the movie. Yes, Buttercup does actually have parents (from the movie, one would almost assume her to be an orphan like Westley), and we get to meet them and watch her interact with them. Now, too, I finally know how Buttercup became a princess before marrying Humperdinck. Turns out the nobles said he couldn’t marry a commoner, so the royal family made her Princess of Hammersmith, “which was this little lump of land attached to the rear of King Lotharon’s holdings.” Ha. That’s great.
I must say, though, that I don’t much care for Goldman’s writing. Don’t get me wrong: he’s a great storyteller, but his prose is pretty weak. Comma splices abound, and there are one too many sentences that should end with a question mark and don’t.
I also didn’t care for all the extraneous material at the front and back of the book; the introductions to the 30th and 25th editions, the “Explanation,” and the 1st chapter of Buttercup’s Baby do nothing for me, and even the original introductory chapter should be about a fifth of its current size. All we need to know is that the book was written by the (imaginary) Florinese author S. Morgenstern, that Goldman’s father read it to him when he was a child, and that he is now abridging it; we certainly don’t need the bitter and disturbing of his (also imaginary) failed marriage. (It’s worth noting that the one unhappy marriage in the story itself—that of Buttercup’s parents&madsh;is presented with much more sensitivity and tact. There’s even a vague suggestion that they need each other, even if they won’t admit it.) I understand this is a postmodern novel and all that, but it’s the story that interests me.
In the end, I do think I prefer the movie to the book: it’s cleaner, and while it’s less satirical, I find it funnier. Still, I think the book is worth a look for anyone who enjoys both reading and the film adaptation. Since pretty much everybody likes the movie, and you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t like reading, I guess that means you.
Who knows? Maybe Words and Music is worth watching as well.
I managed to get about half way through. Mostly I skipped over abridger William Goldman's lengthy interjections, but I did read
Well, that copy of the book got lost, and my love of the Princess Bride movie continued. Years later I picked it up again. I was able to get through the interjections and I finally finished the book. I liked it so much that I decided I was going to skip the middle man and read the book in full, no matter what Meany-Pants Goldman had to say about the parts he cut out.
Are you beginning to notice something here? For years, I didn't turn on to the biggest deception in a text that I've ever read.
There is no S. Morgenstern. William Goldman wrote the whole thing.
This is how much this book sucked me in. I knew there was no such country as Florin. Therefore there could be no Florinese history. There could be no Florinese Language editions of the book. But I still thought the story about William Goldman abridging a the mammoth original text for his ten year old son was true.
Needless to say, I felt right stupid when I finally realized. But I grew to love the interjections, and I have gone back and read the book, skipping over all the stuff with Wesley and Buttercup and Inigo and Fezzik and so forth, just to read them. They are as much a part of the story as the fencing and fighting, the true love and the miracles. The Princess Bride is about being sucked into a story, having it latch onto your soul and it never letting go. And the reason it conveys that message so well is because that is exactly what it does.
I recently got the DVD of the movie, where William Goldman discusses writing the book. In it, he reveals that he doesn't even have a son- not even a fat spoiled one. And he was never married to a hot shot child psychologist.
The original story had still latched on to my soul, and I still naivly clung to the truth of it. You tricked me again, Mr. Goldman. Well played. Well played, indeed.
If you love the movie, you'll love the book even
The only thing I've heard people complain about are Goldman's comments. If you're more interested in the adventures, then by all means, skip over anything in italics. Personally, I think that most were pretty funny, and I was 10 the first time I read it. If anything, I thought the introduction was a little long, but I thought his comments within the story were pretty funny. Supposedly, 4 pages cut about packing hats, 2 pages about unpacking them, and so on - I thought it was funny that Morgenstern had written about that! Even rereading it now for the umpteenth time, I still find them funny. If you're enjoying the humor in the story, by all means, don't miss the italics.
Overall: This is one of the best fun, fantasy books I've ever read. Light, fun read, but with a very satirical, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor throughout. Definitely one you have to read at least once.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
Within the first ten pages, I was hooked. From the outset, it was obvious that this was a case in which, as usual, the book is better than the movie--but in this case, it was much, much better. I won't spell out the plot for you; I assume most people have seen or are familiar with the movie. I will comment on why the book is better.
Basically, the book contains a much more robust storyline. Author William Goldman offers a detailed--and hilarious--introduction in which he describes the "events" that led up to his "abridging the original book" by (I assume) alter-ego Simon Morgenstern. This immediately allows the reader access to the mind of the author, which I think allows for more interaction during the course of reading. Goldman--er, Morgentsern--also delves more deeply into the back stories of Humperdinck, Inigo and Fezzik than the movie could do. I especially enjoyed the book's treatment of Inigo. His subplot is much fuller in the book and even goes into detail about the man his father was. After reading that section, if I were Inigo, I would devote my life to pursuing his killer, too! This, of course, made the actual duel between him and the Count all the more intense. The book also contains several scenes that were cut out of the movie entirely, including Inigo and Fezzik descending the levels of the Zoo of Death. The simple, short ending of that pericope is a masterful example of understatement as humor. Finally, someone who only watches the movie will miss out on all of the funny little asides that are strewn about the pages of this book.
Instead of a book I thought I would read once, and that mainly as a "check the box" activity, I ended up with a book that kept me up late several nights and a book that I will definitely reread several times in the future. Indeed, as I read, I kept asking myself, "Why have I waited so long to read this book?" I encourage you, then, to learn from my mistake and read this book soon!
The nascent textual scholar in me was agog, and I simply longed to read the "boring" version, complete with all the details of Florin diplomacy, and the catalog of Buttercup's trousseau. I can still recall my sense of disappointment, betrayal even, at discovering that there was no "original" version of this to be had...
Despite the frustration of that childhood fantasy, The Princess Bride has always ranked as one of my favorite stories, and I reread the book (and watch the movie) with some regularity. Who wouldn't be charmed by this tongue-in-cheek tale of true love? With pirates, princes, and revenge-obsessed Spaniards, it's hard not to fall under Goldman's spell. I love Westley and Inigo so much, I can even forgive the author for making Buttercup something of a dimwit - and given my somewhat prickly feelings about the portrayal of women in popular culture, that's saying something!
In short: wonderful, marvelous, superb! It is simply inconceivable that there is anyone out there who has not yet enjoyed the delights of this rollicking tale...
So here I am. And I'm really mad. Hopping mad. Mad with myself for letting a stupid crazy women stop me from reading this wonderful book.
I will be honest, it took me a few pages to get into the book, but what really hooked me was Buttercup's declaration of love '...I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any women had loved a man, but half an hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm. Your eyes are like that, did you know? Well they are ...'
it's funny and smart and romantic, and i hope one day that goldman finally gets round to abridging buttercup's baby.
The original story is finely balanced between the narrative and the authorial intrusions. It
So skip the introduction. If you a really curious, read it after you've enjoyed or re-enjoyed the story. And if this is your first time, REALLY don't read the intro because he gives away plot points.
Well there is not much that I can say about the book other than to recommend that everyone read it. The version I have includes the supposedly long lost sequel "Buttercup's Baby." If you've seen the movie (and who hasn't?), then read the book. You will not regret it!
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman, is essentially the story of a kidnapped princess, a greedy
In short, I found this book confusing at first, and then annoying. Don't get me wrong, the story of "the princess bride" is a good one. But they did such a great job in the movie (most of the lines are taken straight from the book) that I would rather just sit down and see it played out than have to delve into the author's narration.
3 out of 5 stars. And that third star is only because the story itself is so good. Do yourself a favor: watch the movie. You'll get all of "the good parts."
I am philosophically opposed to abridgements, but I couldn't resist the deep desire to hear Rob Reiner reading The Princess Bride. As a narrator, he makes a great director – but it was still a lot of fun.
But I have found that not everyone loves this book as much as I do. I
Wesley, Buttercup, Inigo and Fezzick are brilliant characters. Their adventures and triumphs over the evil Prince Humperdink warm your heart. It is a fairytale for the young and young at heart.
Just last might my 16 year son cornered me and said, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
To which I said, "Luke, I AM your father!"