Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Princess Bride Book Review

Rawr Reader,

I've been putting off reading this book for about a year and a half so I finally pushed myself to buying it so I could relive some of my favorite Princess Bride moments. ("You killed m father, prepare to die." "Inconceivable!" "I'm not a witch I'm your wife!" And so so many more.) Alright, let's get right into it! This is the synopsis, provided by Goodreads:

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts - The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.

As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she'll meet Vizzini - the criminal philosopher who'll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik - the gentle giant; Inigo - the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen - the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup's one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.

I want to say it's... from the movie. :D

(safe for those who haven't read this yet)
    The movie isn't one of my favorites of all time, however any chance I had of watching it I would. Contradictory it sounds, but I guess it's because I've finally read the book. This book has one thing going for it in my opinion, and that's the dialogue. The exchanges between the characters are ranked highest probably among all the books I've read. We have fantastic lines like Westley's: As you wish, Vizzini's: Inconceivable, and of course I won't forget Inigo Montoya's: Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you've killed my father, prepare to die. If you haven't heard these lines before, stop what you're doing and go to your nearest movie store and rent this movie. Or if you have Netflix you can go that route. I'd recommend seeing the movie first because then when reading, you can envision these characters living and breathing these words as you read them. 
    Now I'm not going to segue this from a book review to a movie review, but I would just like to insert a praise for the screenwriters of the movie. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR STAYING LOYAL TO THE BOOK. Yes there several scenes not seen in the movie-- but honestly, the movie hits all the important scenes and everything else really is just extra.
    And that was my main problem with this novel. There were a lot of scenes that were completely unnecessary-- and if not completely unnecessary, they were stretched out for too long. We come into this book not diving first into Buttercup and Westley's relationship, but into the [fictional] author's (Goldman not Morgenstern) childhood. 
   Now I won't lie, this was actually really interesting a concept overall and I liked how [the real author] played with it. The story does intertwine with Morgenstern's original story with interjections by Goldman who is writing the abridged version of this story, however the interruptions with the flow of the story sometimes were so sudden that 9/10, I was annoyed. Majorly.
     In the beginning mostly, not so much in the rest of the story, Morgenstern sort of interjections of his own by including multiple parenthetic comments to explain what was going on or his thoughts on it or when the scene was taken place (before maps were made, Florin and Guilder were where Sweden and Germany were before Europe, etc). Whenever Goldman interjects in the abridged version of the novel, his notes are much longer, sometimes a page or two, and are italicized. It was the beginning with Buttercup and Westley's story that the parenthetic sections were rampant, but thank heavens they dimmed down once the story progressed.
    As this is a young adult, or what I would consider a children's book, I found this story to be pleasantly funny. Not only in dialogue, but just in scenes and how characters would interact with one another. Reading this felt like watching a movie because it was so hilarious. Sometimes I find authors try to hard trying to make a moment between characters funny or awkward (for the reader's sake), but 8/10 this just seemed force. However, Goldman does this constantly throughout and it seems effortless. The fact that Goldman wrote screenplays definitely shows. He's seen how actors respond, he's watched people and studied them well, because even though this story carries elements of fantasy, everything honestly feels really believable.
    Now, you might be concerned why I'm going back and forth with praising to bashing this story, and to be fair it's intentional. I don't want to seem like I hated the book, all in all, I still admire the story. However, unfortunately, how it was delivered wasn't my favorite. This is leaning more toward humor (and don't get me wrong I love humor), but I guess it was Goldman's format and writing style that does not match my taste in literature. 
   So for this, I need to be honest. I love the story, but I wouldn't read the book again. I'll just watch the movie.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

“Who are you?"
"No one of consequence."
"I must know."
"Get used to disappointment.” 
― William Goldman, The Princess Bride

“We’ll never survive!” 
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.” 
― William Goldman, The Princess Bride

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    Okay, so does anyone else wish that Goldman took out all the parts about his childhood and his adult life? I read the beginning part with his childhood, but the short section after the "ending" of the book, we're taken to Goldman's adult life, I skipped. I find it so boring and unnecessary. However, I guess even the "after escaping Florin City" scene was unnecessary, as Goldman just takes us down a path he will later cut us off. First he starts off with Fezzik saving Waverly, but then goes back in time to tell us when Waverly was born, then brought back to that moment where Fezzik saves her from a cliff, ultimately (though never written) perishing to a doomed death at the bottom of the cliffside. Honestly, I think it was one of the most well written narrative scenes in the book (this includes no dialogue). Just that he was falling to catch this little girl who meant so much to him, it was really very sweet and evocative. However, a page later, there's no more. It's like Goldman wanted to be really "deep" and moving with this story because the four main characters had gone through so much together (against and with each other), but it just ends with Fezzik dies and that's it. Oh I'm sure Morgenstern meant to miraculously save Fezzik but nope for now he just dies. Really Goldman? Really?
    Buttercup was annoying as heck for me. She's really immature, flat and hopelessly in love with no reason but just because in the beginning she was jealous of the Countess' wife because she was looking at him. That's it. She was jealous, and somehow that molded into true love. Like okay-- yeah sure-- passionate love that she'll never gain from anyone else again (idealistic-- but that's just it. It's idealized and it's boring) but her love is just one color, and love should be a rainbow, with reds and greens and oranges you confuse with yellows and lovely purples and blues. You hate your love and then you don't. I know this isn't a romance book more than adventure, humor, and action, let alone a young adult novel/children's novel-- but still, give me something. (This is why I tend to stray from children's books. Most of the time FANTASTIC plots and world-building and adventures, however, characters usually don't and cannot win me over-- which in essence, is why I'm reading.) But yeah, Buttercup was annoying and winy and the only thing important to her was Westley. Yeah. These women don't interest me at all. Thankfully in the movie, she was toned down.

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