It’s high time I have a Friday Favorite about a book–seeing as I do love a good yarn. So today, I’m thrilled to present one of my all time favorites. Again, I have Jess B. to thank for introducing me to this fantastic book. I saw it one day on her bookshelf (I’m sure after a very prodcutive evening of writing) and asked if I could borrow it. She looked shocked!
“You’ve never read it?” she practically wailed. “You have to read it!”
And so I took it home to enjoy it. Of course I’ve seen the movie version of The Princess Bride a hundred times. I grew up on Buttercup and Westley’s love story. So I knew that I’d enjoy the book.
Turns out Jess was right all along … I had no idea just how much I’d enjoy it!
It turns out that Mr. Goldman’s abridged version of S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure is really beyond anything that I could have hoped for. I spent many a late night reading this stripped down tale. Every bit of Florinese culture and lengthy soloquies on the importance of hats have been removed. And what’s left is one of the wittiest and most enjoyable books I’ve ever read. Likely my favorite part of this book is Mr. Goldman’s parenthetical expressions. So entertaining!
Amazon.com says of it: The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a “good parts version” of “S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure.” Morgenstern’s original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern’s mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the “Classic Tale” nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.”
Goldman frames the fairy tale with an “autobiographical” story: his father, who came from Florin, abridged the book as he read it to his son. Now, Goldman is publishing an abridged version, interspersed with comments on the parts he cut out.
Is The Princess Bride a critique of classics like Ivanhoe and The Three Musketeers, that smother a ripping yarn under elaborate prose? A wry look at the differences between fairy tales and real life? Simply a funny, frenetic adventure? No matter how you read it, you’ll put it on your “keeper” shelf. –Nona Vero
For the briefest moment after finishing this amazing book, I considered tucking it into my own bookshelf and not returning it to it’s rightful owner. But that would be wrong. Very wrong indeed. So I grudgingly gave it back to Jess and have kept my eyes peeled for my very own copy, which I’ve yet to discover. I’m torn between buying a new, perfect copy and finding one at a used bookstore that already has years of love on the pages.
Knowing that I need to own this book … and thinking that you should too … until next time. -LJ