Book Beginnings quote:
This is my favorite book in the world, though I have never read it.
Clearly, something about the farm boy interested her. Facts were facts. But what? The farm boy had eyes like the sea before a storm, but who cared about eyes?
Summary: It seems that anyone who has lived in the latter half of the twentieth century or the first decades of the twenty-first century knows about 'The Princess Bride', not from the book but from the movie. It is a movie which has a cult-like following. It is probably more popular today than when it was first released in 1987. I swear that my daughters can repeat almost every line from the film along with the correct accents of the characters.
The book was written by William Goldman who inserted himself into the story, making it feel like all the bits not related to the actual Princess Bride story were nonfiction. Goldman was a screen writer who knew how to take a novel and rewrite it into a movie script. He also wrote the original screenplays for several very well-known films, such as 'Marathon Man' and 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'. But none of his film scripts were as beloved as the one he wrote for his own book, The Princess Bride, which was originally published in 1973.
The book is more complicated than the movie of course. In it fictional Goldman was the child whose father read The Princess Bride to him when he was a child. He loved it so much, but never actually read it himself. Therefore it was a shock to him when he gave it to his own son and the boy thought the book was boring. Not until then did fictional Goldman know that his father had only read him the good bits of Princess Bride, authored by S. Morgenstern of Florian, skipping all the boring and tedious historical parts. At this point he decides he must edit the original, leaving only the good, adventure and love parts.
Review: The book is genius. First I kept getting confused. Was Goldman really a screen writer? Yes. Did he just edit the book which was actually written by S. Morgenstern? No. The confusion was part of the fun. I loved the whole thing. I was so familiar with the details of the movie, it was fun to learn that it was only half of the story. The Princess Bride is as much about Goldman and S. Morgenstern as it is about Westley and Buttercup. Who knew?
And then the bonus. The novel I read was the 30th anniversary edition. In it Goldman wrote a forward about the book, which was all part of the ruse. Oh, what fun (and additional confusion). But at the end of the book I got to read the first chapter of 'Buttercup's Baby', an original story written by Goldman, not Morgenstern. See? He is still having his way with us. Brilliant.
For fans of the movie, I highly recommend you take the time to read the novel now.
Happy New Year, Y'all!