Book Review : The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride

My rating: 5 out of 5

This book was sitting on my to be read list for what felt like ages. I have to admit I was scared to read it. Why? Because the film is one of my all time favourites. I’ve probably seen it about a hundred times and sad though it is I know every word off by heart. How could the book ever match up? It was to quote numerous characters “inconceivable”.

Happily it turns out I was wrong. The book is very similar to the film. The central story is essentially the same and tells the story of Buttercup, a rather silly but beautiful girl, and Wesley, the long suffering farm boy who loves her. It has all of the same elements including romance, sword fights, kidnapping, piracy and torture. At some parts the dialogue is word for word the same as in the film and I’m sad enough to know this having watched it innumerable times. I have to admit in reading the book I couldn’t help but imagine the same actors playing the parts.

There is a bit more of a back story in the novel for my favourite characters Fezzik (the gentle giant) and Inigo (the swordsman out to avenge his fathers murder by the six fingered man) which I thought was really good. In addition instead of the story being interspersed with Peter Faulk (who will forever be Columbo to me) reading the tale to his sick grandson, in this we get William Goldman’s supposed “abridgement notes”. These notes by the author are intended to give some of the background to the story and the original author. Some of these are quite funny and definitely add to the experience of reading the book but I have to admit I found some a little long winded and somewhat bizarre.

Despite some of my slight reservations over these parts I loved the book as a whole and I’m so glad I finally read it. I think this is probably one of these books that everyone should read and it definitely deserves a 5 star review.

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