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on 30 December 2017
This is such a cult classic story (both the book and the film) but I’ve been completely out of the loop until now. And I’m glad I went into the story completely blind.

At its heart we have a fun romp of a fantasy novel, and as the synopsis says it has a little bit of everything.

But for me it’s the way the story is presented which takes it to the next level. William Goldman claims to have take a beloved story from his childhood and edited it down to only the good bits, with brilliant commentary scattered throughout.

Overall this was a really fun read. And it’s about time I try out the movie!
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on 6 November 2017
This has such a casual, effortless charm. I didn't get all the humour when I first saw it as a kid, but there are so any deft little touches that as an adult I can appreciate this not just as entertainment but as a great feat of acting and production.

The first sword-fight alone is fantastic - pay close attention to how easily Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes perform some of their moves. The scene is clearly an homage to earlier swash-bucklers but it does it better - note how the director has made it clear that it's performed on a set, just like the swash-bucklers of old!

Anyway, it's fun for young and old alike.
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on 15 July 2016
Having come to the movie of The Princess Bride relatively late in life (its and mine!), I didn't realise as the time that it was originally a novel. I've seen the book around in the years since and recently it was on offer for Kindle so I decided to give it a try. Happily the book is at least as good as the film and in fact has an extra dimension to it. The novel is presented as an abridgement of an original by the original author, S. Morgenstern. Chapters of the story are interspersed with passages from Goldman where he talks about having the "original" read to him by his father when he was very ill (like in the book), or where he explains what extraneous material he's abridged, or where he includes anecdotes of his troubles getting the book written and published or the film made. The twist is that all of that is, in fact, fictional as well. The original book he's abridged, the wife and son he describes, and so forth are completely made up. It's very well done and does add to the fun of the overall book.

It's been a while since I saw the film so some of the finer plot points I'd forgotten which made the overall story more fun for me as some bits were still a surprise. The tone of the book was much like the film, irreverent and flippant, with constant asides in brackets about random things. The romping adventure plot was still just as much fun and most of the characters got more backstory and development than in the film which made it a richer experience overall.

Sadly I felt this version of the novel was let down overall by the Buttercup's Baby sequence at the end. It just didn't work for me, way too much fictional reality where the author wrangled with the Morgenstern estate, met with Stephen King, and so on. That all really dragged for me. The ratio of asides to actual story was also far too high so I didn't really follow what little story there was very well. I also just didn't like the story very much, sadly.

But still, that didn't dim my enjoyment for the main work. My recommendation would be to not bother reading Buttercup's Baby if you ever get a version that includes it, as far as I'm concerned it adds nothing of real value or enjoyment.

TL:DR version - if you love the movie, you'll love the book too.
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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.
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on 4 March 2018
Ok, i loved this book. But you have to get your head around the major conceit that the whole book is told as an author reworking another authors' novel. William Goldman does this brilliantly. The whole book is of course fiction, including the introduction, which weaves the reality of a movie adaptation with the internal narrative of the original novel. The whole book is so cleverly conceived, but also beautifully written. Goldman's 'notes' and fictional introductions are witty and I'm sure many people are confused into thinking that Morgenstern's 'original novel' is real. I know some people don't like these sequences, however i found them interesting and often very funny. As to main story... what needs to said? It's wonderful. So many of the famous lines from the movie are taken directly from the novel and it's great fun coming across them. Is the book better or the film? They are both as brilliant as the other. Try this please, i hope you enjoy it as much as i do!
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on 4 May 2016
I bought the book The Princess Bride in 2013. It was on offer; a daily deal on the kindle. I hadn’t heard much about it but people often mentioned it in passing so I thought I would give it a go. Then I promptly forgot about it. However, this year, those few mentions grew and grew. They mentioned it in The Big Bang Theory; it was mentioned in the date movie What If?; and finally a friend whom I have a lot in common with quoted it to me. This isn’t unusual. This friend and I have such a similar taste in movies and books that she was fully expecting me to bounce back with a similar quote. When I looked at her with a completely non-plussed expression on my face she realised that I wasn’t who she thought I was. She urged me to watch the movie.

This is all well and good but since I am a stickler for doing things the correct way round I had to read the book first. I searched the annals of my Kindle archive and found The Princess Bride. I read it and here is what I thought.

It was brilliant. It is so funny, intriguing, adventurous and just a jolly good romp. I fell in love with each of the character. I wanted Westley to come back victorious and win Buttercup’s heart all over again. I desperately wanted Inigo Montoya to avenge his father’s death. I got far too involved with the plot. Subsequently, I have bought the movie and with a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes I’m pretty sure I will love that too.

Give The Princess Bride a read. It is a hearty swashbuckling adventure that you are sure to enjoy.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is available now.
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on 17 November 2014
Ever since I first saw The Princess Bride film I have loved it – loved it as much as a dear old friend. How come then that I have only just discovered that there is a book of the film (or should that be a film of the book?) to read. The is a modern fairytale. More than a fairytale, it is a pastiche of what fairytales are. The book goes beyond that for it is a satire not just of fairytales, but of how old stories are, are written, and of Hollywood that mines them for its films.

In the film, a grandfather reads the book to his grandson, skipping out the boring bits to the tale of high adventure that he thinks the boy will enjoy. In the book, we see this as an autobiography of either (and both) Goldman being read the book by his father and he reading the book to is son.

For a while you do actually believe that Morgenstern’s Princess Bride is a real book, and you think about trying to track it down in some secondhand bookshop somewhere. It’s a clever idea that makes you believe its an actual abridgement in which Goldman presents the ‘good parts’ version of an older story through tales of how he adapted it.

Where the book follows either the fairytale or the grandfather/grandson scenes of the film the book every bit as good, and the introduction is very entertaining. As the book progresses, I do feel that Golding gets a bit carried away with his notes on the text, none more obviously than in the concluding section that follows the main story where he satarises the Hollywood obsession with sequels. The ‘Buttercup’s Baby section doesn’t really seem to add anything much to an otherwise brilliant book.
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on 1 May 2015
The premise that the book was written by a chap called Morgenstern and Goldman is just abridging it worked well for me. Imagine you have just read The Monuments Men and then watched the film, what a disappointment, the film is nothing like the book but that is not the case here, the book is virtually the screenplay and I bet there are few of you out there who have not seen the excellent film. In truth I hoped for a bit more from the book, it does not add much in background apart from the origins of Montoya and Fizzik and a pretend start of a new book, the sequel, Buttercup's child (or baby, I forget now). I read that there was to be a musical version (don't you just hate the thought of that?) of TPB but Goldman demanded seventy five percent of the royalties even though the other fellow had written all the words and music. Perhaps Goldman is not a big fan of musicals either. All in all a good romp, a good book to read between Mantel's.
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on 12 July 2016
Having never seen the film- which I know is many people's favourite - I came to this book with little expectation and more curiosity. I casually opened it in a bookshop and could not help but stay there until I had finished it. I am a keen reader and have often used the phrase "I couldn't put it down" but this was one of the few books for which that is literally true.

Even though I'd already read it from cover to cover, I went on to buy it both on Kindle and in hard copy. It is a love story and an adventure story and a fantasy novel and a fairy tale. But above all those things it is a story about stories and how and why we tell them; a brilliant book about reading and writing; touching without being sentimental, clever without being snarky; wise without being overly worthy.

Goldman - a screenwriter and a great writer on screenwriting - gives us a rollicking narrative which is also a reflection on narrative. I cannot recommend "The Princess Bride" highly enough - one of the few novels I've read which is as fun as it is moving. A smart, surprising, funny, memorable, wise book on courage, love, beauty, revenge, friendship, family and pretty much everything else - I really really couldn't put it down!
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on 10 November 2014
I absolutely adored the film and had to read the book, and I loved it even more than the film, this actually had me laughing out loud!! The comments and stories from William Goldman are heart warming and give true insight into the film and the man to whom this story means so much and if possible it makes me love the book and the film even more.

This special edition book includes a foreword from William Goldman, the original foreword, as well as a special abridged version of Chapter one of Buttercups Baby, the sequel to the original book and the foreword to that first chapter. The only sad thing is that it is only the first chapter and I desperately wanted more!

A must read to all who loved the film, may you love the book even more, and may you laugh when you find a conversation directly lifted from the pages.
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