Book Review: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Why hello there again!  I am a little behind on my book reviews, so I apologize for that. But good news…this here is going to be a book review! (Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you?)


“Woman,” Westley roared, “you are the property of the Dread Pirate Roberts and you  .  .  .   do  .  .  .   what  .  .  .   you’re  .  .  .   told!”

For week three of the Goodreads group challenge, a book turned into a movie, I picked The Princess Bride by William Goodman. I used the thirty day trial of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited to check out this book, and frankly I am glad I did.

I really did not care much for this book. At all. Let me set the record straight real quick…I absolutely adore the movie. As a movie, this was a classic filled with great actors and actresses; Cary Elwes, Billy Crystal, André the Giant, Wallace Shawn, Chris Sarandon, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Fred Savage, Peter Falk…even the lady who sold treats from the trolley in Harry Potter was in this. Everything flowed together and never once did I want to shake anyone and scream, nor fast forward through. The movie was beautifully done.

And mayhaps that is where my problem lies. I grew up with this movie, cherishing the story of true love, evil princes, heroic pirates, giants and swordsmen. The book sought to extinguish all of this for me.

Depending on how you want to define ‘main characters’ you have quite a few and I will quickly go over them.

We have of course our young milk-maid-turned-Princess, Buttercup. She is most easily the most annoying character in the book. Her parents have a Farm Boy that she never ceases to enjoy bullying and it is only after someone else wants him that she gets upset and decides she is in love with him. Love however holds no candle to living apparently though.

Farm Boy, whose real name is Westley (not that Buttercup cared to know for quite some time) is poor but loves Buttercup. I really have no idea what he sees in her, but he is easily the most tolerable person. He goes off in search of fortune so he can come back and marry her.

Really the story revolves mostly around their love story and Prince Humperdinck, famed hunter and heir to Florin. Needing a wife to produce an heir, Buttercup is to  become his wife.

The other characters are a Spainard swordsman named Inigo Montoya who is seeking a six-fingered man to avenge his father’s death, a giant from Turkey named Fezzik who is a little simple in the head but loves rhymes, Vizzini; a Sicilian criminal mastermind who employs the two aforementioned people, and Count Rugen; Humperdinck’s closest confidant and scholar on pain.

The version I read is the “abridged” version, which is in itself quite a story. Goldman weaves a side story that, if caught unawares, is quite easy to believe. So let me just say this: Morgenstern was never real and Florin never was a country. And it goes without saying that Stephen King is not Florinese either. The asides get a little (read: very) distracting and a bit irritating. If you do decide to read this book, read the version without all this fluff.  The book has enough fluff anyways.

At times I found myself barely skimming the pages. The descriptions felt to go on forever, Buttercup vastly irritated me, and sometimes the author would put in things that had nothing to do with a single thing.

Now that I got all my dislikes out of the way, I hope you are still reading this to see what I did happen to like. The background chapters on Inigo and Fezzik were amazing. I adored these chapters because it helps bring more light on the characters. From the movie, we knew Indigo’s father made swords and was killed by a six-fingered man. We know he studies sword fighting for years and years to prepare himself to avenge his father and that he becomes a drunkard. How does he become a drunkard though and how does he get mixed up with Vizzini? Fezzik, we know little about from the movie except that Vizzini found him in Greenland. Why was he there? Where was he from?  The book addresses all of this and sheds much more light on the characters.

It sheds more light on Buttercup  which is probably why I don’t like her anymore. She is like Scarlett O’Hara only unlike Scarlett, Buttercup never really gets better.

The book also has many, many more splendid quotes that did not make it into the movie.

All-in-all, I really would not recommend this to my friends. If you have not seen the movie, then read the book first and see the movie second and you will probably like the book. Really though, this is one of the few times I highly recommend skipping the book and just picking up the movie. Seriously.



About misplacedselchie

I enjoy random writing related thoughts, plot bunnies, and good books. One of these days I'll get my own book finished.
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