The Princess Bride – William Goldman

Published by Rachel on


The Princess Bride
“This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it. How is such a thing possible? I’ll do my best to explain.”

A tale of love, sword fights, and revenge.

The Princess Bride was William Goldman’s eight novel but the first to reach critical acclaim. Published in 1973, it has since been adapted into computer games, musicals, and most notably, a film in 1987 starring Cary Elwes and Robin Wright.

A fairy tale told in the form of an abridgement, the book was ‘written’ by the fictional author S. Morgenstern. Goldman plays the role of commentator throughout the novel, adding witty humour and sarcastic remarks.


Summary

The book follows the love story of Buttercup, a young lady, and Westley, a farm boy as they grow up together. As they fall in love, Westley leaves to seek his fortune so they can marry. In his absence, the heir to the throne demands Buttercup’s hand in marriage. And so the adventure begins. Between getting kidnapped by a criminal, fencer, and a giant, being followed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, and facing Rodents of Unusual Size, Buttercup waits desperately for Westley to save her. But with her true love presumed dead, the princess’s fortune seems to be ever-dwindling.



Commentary

The Princess Bride is an entertaining and amusing tale suitable for all ages.

Praise

  • This book has everything. From poison and sword fights to beautiful ladies and true love, The Princess Bride has something for everyone. It’s funny and adventurous and completely ridiculous.
  • The characters are well developed and life-like. From Westley’s loyalty to Buttercup’s fierceness to the infamous “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die” everyone is interesting. The characters are so vivid, it’s hard to imagine that they don’t exist.
  • It’s a timeless fairy tale that leaves the reader awestruck after every read. It’s a masterful story, exciting and brilliant and can be reread again and again and again without losing any of its magic.

Critique

  • If you’re not a fan of dry witticism, then you’ll find Goldman’s commentary irritating. He interrupts the story often, usually at the most crucial parts and also includes jokes within parenthesis on most pages. This can make it difficult to really get into the story, especially if you prefer the fantasy side over humour.
  • It has a slow start. The story doesn’t really begin until fifty-ish pages in. A lot of the beginning is background information which does set up the tale but can be quite dull in places.
  • The novel doesn’t come anywhere near passing the Bechdel test. Buttercup is the only female character with any decent lines, and even she remains passive for most of the story. It’s misogynistic and disrespectful, something that the movie thankfully correct.


Recommendations

Overall, I’d give William Goldman’s The Princess Bride a five out of five. It’s a satirical and captivating story full of wonderful characters and fantastic creatures.

I’d recommend this novel to everyone, whether you’re a fan of romance or not. It’s a fantasy adventure appropriate for all ages.


5/5 Star




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