The Princess Bride

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US hardcover, 1st edition.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, The 'Good Parts' Version is a novel by William Goldman published in 1973. In the opening, the book describes how, as a child, Goldman's father read him a book called "The Princess Bride" but, as an adult trying to read the book to his own son, he realizes that the actual book was dreadfully dull compared to how his father read it because his father skipped all the dull parts of the original to make it more interesting for a little boy. So, Goldman does the same thing, taking the classic work and abridging it so his son will be able to enjoy it the way he did. The abridged version contains only the "good parts" with additional footnotes about the original.

I had seen the movie in the late 1980s, and thought it was pretty wonderful. My friend Wallee was reading the book while we were vacationing in Mexico and I read a few paragraphs and decided I liked it. The next Christmas, my friend Danielle bought mt the 30th anniversary edition.

Status

I own a 30th anniversary hardcover of this book and have read it.

Review

Good

  • The idea of writing a story about a fake book and presenting it as real was a very creative idea, and I initially fell for it. When I first started looking for a first edition hardcover, I was quite perplexed as to why I couldn't find the unabridged version!
  • The story is certainly trope-heavy, but purposefully so, and it covers all the bases, a beautiful princess, swashbuckling pirates, an evil prince, kidnapping, torture, a deadly swamp, true love, treason, daring sword fights, and more. Everything a classic adventure needs!

Bad

  • The "this was before" asides wear out their welcome pretty quickly.
  • The idea of miracle men who can perform magic doesn't fit with the setting of Earth's history. Either have a world that's mundane or magical, but don't mix the two.
  • The ending doesn't fit with the typical trope-heavy book.
  • Later releases include the first portions of Buttercup's Baby, which, although it has some interesting elements, isn't that great.

Ugly

  • Buttercup is pathetic. She's a ditz with no real talents or personality. Her only positive aspect is that she's extremely beautiful, but even then, only when her servants make her so. I get that this is a purposely trope-heavy story, but it means Westley's love for her is purely superficial, making him pathetic as well, but at least he has skills.
  • Inigo and Fezzik are described entirely with superlatives. Each has trained for years to be the best in the world at what they do, which makes their defeat, both by the man in black, to be unbelievable. Either that or the man in black is like a demigod or something.

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