The Princess Bride, William Goldman, Harcourt Books
When I opened the package from Rachel after our hiatus and saw the cover of the book she had sent me, I was practically giddy. Normally, when it comes to books that became movies, even if the movie has been long out before I read the book, I am anti-movie-poster-as-book-cover. As much as I love Jennifer Lawrence, when I get around to buying the paper-and-ink version of The Hunger Games (right now I only have it on my Kindle), I will hunt down a version that doesn’t have her on it. But in this case, it didn’t matter. Because The Princess Bride is my FAVORITE MOVIE EVER. All caps is totally necessary to describe my love for this movie. I can quote practically the whole thing. When I don’t know what to watch, I watch The Princess Bride. If it’s on TV, you can bet I’m stopping on that channel. When someone haphazardly throws out a “I’ve never seen it before,” I insist they watch it with me. Westley (Cary Elwes in his prime) was my first love, and, should I ever have a boy child, Westley is in high consideration for his name. I idolized Robin Wright for years because of Buttercup. So needless to say, seeing them on the cover of the book when I opened up that little brown box was more than enough to make me smile.
With all of my great love for the movie, however, I had never actually read the book. In her note, Rachel said the movie was very faithful to the book, and I agree with that. Usually I try to keep the book-to-movie comparisons to a minimum, so I can enjoy the movie as much as possible, even if to do so I have to think of it as a separate entity from the books. That being said, I hate when I watch a movie of a book and all of my favorite dialogue doesn’t end up in the movie. In this situation, it’s in the reverse, but nevertheless, I enjoyed all of my favorite lines just as much in paper and ink as I did on film. Westley was as charming as ever, Vizzini possibly even nuttier, and Fezzik and Inigo just as lovable, if not more so. I will say, though, some of the negative criticism I had heard about the book (that probably was part of the reason I had never read it before) was true – of all of the characters, Buttercup was a little less likable for me in the book. She redeems herself more for me toward the end, but in the first 2/3 of the book or so, I felt like she didn’t love Westley as much as I wanted her to after seeing her character in the movie. In the movie, her decision after the fire swamp (trying to avoid spoilers for the crazies who haven’t read the book nor seen the movie) seems motivated by her love for Westley and her desire to save him, whereas in the book, she seems a lot more selfish, and doesn’t realize just how good she had it until much later. All that being said, I still really enjoyed the book. It’s a quick, fun read that really is “all the good parts.” The way Goldman makes use of the frame narrative structure, all of the parentheticals, and the whole S. Morgenstern persona in general kept the book from taking itself too seriously, and made me smile the same way the movie did.