Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: Princess Bride

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

I can’t imagine anyone who hasn’t seen the movie; it’s one of our family’s iconic texts. So rather than a normal book review, here I’ll concentrate on book/movie contrasts. First, I started this book once, many years ago, and was supremely bored by it. I put it on a shelf, but didn’t get rid of it. Recently, I decided to cull my bookshelves and rather than just dumping it, I decided to give it one more shot.
I think what bored me the first time was the prologue. The movie’s frame (sick little boy being read to by grandpa) is introduced  by a lengthy and sort of whiny prologue in which the narrator (author?) relates how he’s contemplating adultery  in L.A. but instead returns home to his indifferent wife and spoiled son. He remembers the best book in the world which his father read to him, and determines to fetch it for his son. It turns out to be really boring in parts, so he revises it to just have the good parts so his son will enjoy it more.  (I know, you’re bored just by my relating this much. Imagine 20 pages of it).

Once I got to the story part, it mirrors the movie very closely, down to the dialogue. It does have little bits that aren’t in the movie, though, and of course, it was great fun to find them and imagine them as acted by our old friends. (In terms of casting, the movie nailed it, except for Prince Humperdinck.) When you love a movie this much, it’s a joy to add on to the lore. And don’t feel guilty for skipping the prologue. 5/5*

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