on 24 March 2001
A long time ago - many years before Amazon I watched the movie and really enjoyed it...several years later in a second hand bookshop I got a copy of the book...and discovered everything I'd loved in the movie - AND MORE !!. Unlike most films they had stayed very true to the book - which is billed as 'the good parts version'. I'm now on my third copy - it gets lent to nearly everyone I know (at some time) - when they stop laughing I have to borrow it back from them and tell them to get their own (this is how I'm up to my third copy). Even if you've seen the film (which means you have the characters already firmly in your imagination as looking that way) lets face it your imagination can do things an awful lot cheeper than a movie budget - and in some cases probably an awful lot more believable ! Gives you an awful lot more background on Buttercup (and the ratings for the most beautiful women in the world), Inego, Fezzick, Westley and all the other characters that if you've seen the film you wil already love. And also the reason that someone is REALLY trying to start a war (which is not explained in the film - but I wont go into the who and why's here incase you haven't seen it !). Full of great catchphrases including the 'possibly' imortal 'Hallo my name is Inego Montoya - you killed my father prepare to die '. This is one book which does live up to everything it promises to be full of swordfights, logic games, dramatic locations - the zoo of death and the fire swamp to name only two. Heroes, Villans, a beautiful princess, miracles and of course....true love One of the VERY early (1970's - after Douglass Adams but before Pratchett and Asprin) attempts to mix humour and fantasy - and all those fairy stories you got told as children. It hasn't dated and may well have impoved with age...infact having talked about it I MUST read my copy again..I dont think I'm doing anything else I cant put off for an hour or two...... #heading for the bookshelves# Francesca
on 11 September 2011
Like many people I expect, I came to this book having already seen and loved the 1987 movie (The Princess Bride - Special Edition [DVD]) - a fact that is beautifully exploited by Goldman in this up-to-date edition of his cult classic. From the first page of his tongue-in-cheek introduction I found myself stifling giggles, reading about the process of casting and shooting the film. It was once the novel itself began, however, that I really fell in love.
As most people will know, 'The Princess Bride' is a satirical take on fairytale tradition, `abridged' from a larger fictional work by `S. Morgenstern'. One of the real delights in the book is how convincing Goldman is about the existence of the fictional country of Florin and about Morgenstern's style as a writer. There are brilliantly executed editorial sections scattered throughout the novel detailing his decisions to cut various parts of the `original'. It really is no wonder that so many readers hit the bookshops looking for Morgenstern's version!
The story itself is famous for its brilliant wit and its cast of wonderful characters. At its heart is the story of the Princess Buttercup and her true love, the farm boy Westley. Around that heart is built a complex web involving pirates, sword-fights, an evil prince, a benevolent king, revenge, monsters and betrayal. There is a Zoo of Death and a terrifying Dread Pirate Roberts, an albino and a miracle man, giant rats and Cliffs of Insanity. Of course, I couldn't forget the wonderful trio, Vizzini the Sicilian (the criminal mastermind), Inigo the Spaniard (the master fencer) and Fezzik the Giant (the rhyming fighter), each with their own journeys to make.
I could go on forever but the truth is, it's really one of those books that works better if you just pick it up, settle in for the ride and find out for yourself. If you've seen the movie, now read the book; if you've not heard of either, what are you waiting for?! You're in for a real treat - and it's definitely a keeper for me.
on 14 August 2014
Buttercup has fallen for the farm boy, Westley. He decides to travel to America to make his fortune until the fateful day the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never leaves survivors captures him. On hearing this Buttercup is heartbroken and vows to never love another. She makes her word to wed, without love, but is she in for a surprise?
I saw the film and loved it and thought I should give the book a go as well. Now, had it been the other way around I don't think I'd have given the film the time of day. The book is interesting but it doesn't leave you wanting more. It doesn't make you want to turn the page to find out what happens. There are times when it gets good but overall there's far too much long windedness in between those times.
I found the fact the William Goldman is pretending to be writing the abridged version of a novel by a man, S. Morgenstern, a man who never existed, never mind wrote the book, humorous. The fact that he added a fictional story, with the pretence of it actually happening, is interesting. I think it added some depth to the book as a whole. It's easy to believe it had happened, that as a kid he had pneumonia and his seemingly illiterate father read it to him. As it is an "abridged" version throughout he is constantly adding his narrative to explain what is missing from the "original." I found them to be enjoyable.
I loved Inigo Montoya. He has to be the greatest character in the book along with Fezzik. There were the two least annoying characters. Inigo was a powerful character - he had strength, he had skill, he just didn't have much knowledge and was constantly needing a leader to guide him. The same could be said for Fezzik. I suppose after a while it got a bit tiresome but nothing compared with Buttercup and Westley. They irritated the hell out of me. When they weren't being all lovey dovey they were constantly moaning about something.
I enjoyed reading about the fire swamp and the zoo of death. They were both well described and interesting concepts. For me there was far too much dialogue and not that much description.
I think this book was wasted on me. Read it, you might appreciate it more.
on 14 August 2004
I can remember seeing the film about fifteen years ago when i was 10 or maybe slightly older. to tell you the truth i thought it was good but not great. the same is true today, the film looks dated and the two main leads just don't do for me. But the book, the book is one of my favourites. it's one of those rare things a book that can change the way you feel. i'm going through a bad patch at the moment and i'm doing what i always do when i feel down - i turn to this book. it makes me smile, it makes me laugh, it makes me believe that maybe love is out there for everyone.
beyond that it is a brillantly written, witty and inventive novel. not only has goldman written a new fairy tale for all ages he has created a whole new country in which to set it. he's made a new world in which to set his novel and it's one that works completely.
This is a post-modern fairy tale that manages to mix daft fun with a passionate and poignant outlook on life and a thorough knowledge of renaissance fencing technique.
If you've enjoyed the film and are wondering about the book, then you are in for a treat and a surprise. The film (which is also great fun) is really no more than an excerpt from the book, which is part William Goldman autobiography, part 'hot' fairy tale, and part semi-historical novel.
'The Princess Bride' is a book within a narrative within a book. It's partly the story of how William Goldman tried to bond with his son. It's partly the (fake) story of how William Goldman himself learnt to read as a result of his grandfather reading him Morgenstern's classic story 'The Princess Bride'. And it's partly the story of the Princess Bride herself, with wise-cracking commentary by Goldman.
The book is seamless. You can't establish where Goldman is gently teasing and where he is revealing his soul. In any case, the writing is utterly captivating.
This is a book which works well on so many different levels. Whether you are a fan of humour, fairy-tale or swordplay, or all three or none of them, you are still certain to find a level at which this book demands your full attention until all the pages are done.
on 12 January 2001
After having watched the film many times as a child, I was delighted to find that the book was available. However, I was intrigued by the existence of S. Morgenstern... Having done a little digging, I have found out that S. Morgenstern was a pen-name used by William Goldman when he first wrote another book: The Silent Gondoliers (this book can be found with Goldman as the author on this site). I hope this solves the mystery for anyone who was still in any doubt as to the existence of this enigma. As to my opinions on the story and why it is so good, I can only cite sheer genius on the part of Mr. Goldman, and reiterate the opinions already found on this page. Watch the film, read the book and make sure you read it to your kids, otherwise I fear the fairytale will be lost from our culture for good!
on 1 July 2008
This is one of the very best books I've ever read.
A friend of mine who doesn't read had told me to watch the movie years ago, and I had politely nodded and told him that I would look into it, but all along was thinking "Princess Bride? CHICK FLICK!! No way am I going to bother with that." Years later I was moseying through one of my favourite book stores and saw the book on display there with a rapturous "Staff favourite" mini-review underneath it. I didn't have any pressing reads at the time, so picked it up alongside a few other books.
When I did eventually get around to opening it, I had two or three laugh out loud moments in the first twenty pages, and didn't put the book down until I'd finished it, other than to send a text message to my friend half way through to tell him that it was the best book I'd ever read.
The story is of the great love between Buttercup (the beautifulest girl in the world) and Westley (a farm boy with some surprising talents). There are pirates, torture, giants, ROUS's, a battle of wits to the death, sword fights, the BEST kissing scene imaginable, miracles...
I have bought this book for so many people, all of whom have (at the very least) liked it, and am hanging out for my niece to turn old enough to appreciate me reading it to her.
Pick it up and enjoy yourself!
I must have seen the film about twenty times when I was younger and I was amazed to find that there was a novel too. It lived up to every expectation and more. I love the way Goldman messes with the reader's sense of what is real and what isn't - multiple levels of fantasy feed the wonderfully bizarre atmosphere of the novel all the way through. It was magical in every sense of the word but in the most grown up and witty way. I cried when the book ended. It could have gone on for ever for me and I wouldn't have been bored. This book has everything in it, love, hate, destiny, romance, tragedy, comedy, history, geography... I could go on, but I won't. You shouldn't be reading this review you should be buying this book NOW.
on 6 February 2015
As a film, “The Princess Bride” is possibly the best DVD to have around when you’re not feeling well. There is a wonderfully recuperative effect in wrapping yourself in your duvet with a cup of Lemsip and watching the film, only matched by “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
Of course, there is every reason why this should be so. The reasoning behind the book is supposedly based around a time when the author was a young boy and very ill and his father read a book to him. That book was Morgenstern’s “The Princess Bride”, although as that contained a few rather boring asides concerning the history and social etiquettes of Florin, where it was set, his father edited these bits out.
What is left is one heck of a tale, though. It has everything that you would expect to find in a good fairy tale; there are royalty and villains (sometimes at the same time), swordfights and fistfights, there are pirates and a princess, life and death, with true love holding it all together.
Buttercup and Westley have found their true love in each other, but Westley is conscious that he is only a farm boy and sets of for America to make his fortune and give Buttercup the life she deserves. Before long, however, there comes word that Westley’s ship has been attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is known to take no prisoners.
Years later, when Humperdinck, Prince of Florin, is seeking a bride, he comes across Buttercup. Believing her true love to be dead and gone, she accepts his proposal. Of course, there are risks to being a Princess, as Buttercup discovers when she is kidnapped by a band of three men; Inigo Montoya, Fezzik the giant and Vizzini, determined to start a war between Florin and the neighbouring country of Guilder. Her Prince and his entourage set after them, but are thwarted by a mysterious man in black, who seems to have something against both parties.
Although it helps knowing what’s coming next, I can get excited just thinking about this part of the book. There is so much yet to come, with so many twists and set pieces between the Princess and the Bride, despite both being the same person. There is still plenty of life and death situations and not always in that order. There is also much revenge to be had, by many of the characters on many of the others.
There is so much crammed into this book that I can hardly believe it. There’s very little that isn’t advancing the plot or at least introducing some back story which will prove to be completely vital later on. The only parts of the book that really don’t seem to move things along are the interjections from Goldman about why he cut a certain part of Morgenstern’s original novel out. However, once you become enraptured by the story, as you are sure to do, even these fade into the background and don’t seem as bad.
The whole book is completely enchanting and as someone who has seen the film any number of times, I was delighted to discover that the majority of the most quotable lines from the film were actually in the book as it was first written, which isn’t often the case when a book is adapted for the big screen. This makes for a really quite amusing book, almost a comedy fairytale, as well as one that grips you in terms of the adventure as well as getting you involved to the point where you want to cheer on the good guys, even when you’re reading in public.
“The Princess Bride” can be read in one of two ways. If you accept Goldman’s word that this book is just his version of a longer work of satirical history by S. Morgenstern, the introductions explaining why he did it and the sections where he explains what he cut out and why can seem a little self indulgent and feel more like an interruption.
However, it is believed that Morgenstern never actually existed and the whole explanations and the bits Goldman claims he cut out are all made up. I read the book for the first time believing the former was true and for the second time believing the latter. The second time around, the additional information opened up a whole new world and made the basic story just a part of a larger tapestry, which was more intricate than I would ever have believed. Knowing this made the whole introduction part of the tale and Goldman’s interruptions seem more a part of the story than an add on. It adds extra spice to the afterward where he talks about Morgenstern’s supposed sequel, “Buttercup’s Baby”; the first chapter of which is, if anything, more exciting than “The Princess Bride”.
Of course, whichever version you believe, this is a delightful story. The additional information I found out only changed my reaction to the book from finding it very enjoyable to extremely enjoyable.
If you’ve ever liked the film version, you really should read the book, as it’s just as enjoyable, if not more so. If you’ve ever dipped into a work of fiction or fantasy and discovered you can love losing yourself into another world, this is one for you. If you are the kind of person who reads for pleasure, this is a pleasure you should not miss out on. If you want something to read to pass the time, it will not pass more quickly than with “The Princess Bride”.
Simply put, if you’ve ever enjoyed reading fiction, regardless of your age, this is a book you need to have read at some point in your life. There is so little to lose and so much to be gained by getting a copy of “The Princess Bride”. You may never fully realise how good the imagination of one man can be until you’ve read this book.
This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
on 7 September 2014
This book is an odd one – you might be familiar with the movie version of the book, starring Andre the Giant, Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal and Peter Falk. The movie is considered to be a cult classic, and it’s easily one of my favourite films of all time.
Because of this, it took me a while to get used to the book – while the basic story-line remains the same, the way in which it’s presented is completely different. Goldman’s narrative is presented as though it’s an abridgment of The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern, a fictional book by a fictional author which serves as a plot device in both the movie and the novel.
In most cases, this would be gimmicky and unnecessary – here, however, it allows Goldman to add his own commentary and annotations, effectively allowing him to carry out a dialogue with his fictional author for literary effect. Goldman continued the joke at a later date, writing an entire book called The Silent Gondoliers and releasing it under Morgenstern’s name.
You can’t knock Goldman’s work for sheer originality, and the novel contains all of the elements of action, adventure, romance and fairly tale that you’re used to if you’ve seen the movie. It really is an epic tale, one in which your imagination takes over and Goldman’s writing simply serves as the backdrop for an adventure that you live out in your mind’s eye. Who needs a movie, when your imagination can do the job for you?
A word of warning, though – if I were you, I’d watch the movie before you read the novel. It’s one of the rare occasions where I rate the adaptation even more highly than the original, and I think that you will too. It’s not that Goldman’s writing isn’t enjoyable, it’s just that it’s quirky, zany and occasionally confusing – the book and the film are different enough that you can enjoy one of them after consuming the other, but you’ll find it easier to follow the story-line of the novel if you already know roughly what’s going to happen.
All in all, though, it’s a fantastic novel and a wonderful story – get ready to fall in love with Princess Buttercup, to make friends with Westley the farm boy.