JohnDesu Reviews

The Princess Bride by William Goldman


This is a reread for me, or at least I thought it was. I originally was assigned this book during my freshman year of high school and thought I remembered what it was about. After getting through the first couple of chapters this time through I realized that I must not have finished the book. (This now is a completely inconceivable notion to me.) I was never the best of students. It was not that I didn’t enjoy the book or would not have enjoyed The Princess Bride. In fact I am sure I would have loved it at that age, just that assigning me a book was a sure-fire way to ensure I would never read the whole thing.

Well, I have read it now and I still have not seen the movie. (I plan to do that quite soon.) I had a great time reading it this time around and would recommend that everyone, no matter their age, read it at least once in their life. More than that, I would recommend reading it periodically throughout your life. There is a lot more to this book than meets the eye and depending on your age you are sure to get different meanings from it. I will not dive too much into the story, as it is relatively simple and I think if you have not read the book yet, you would be better to discover it on your own terms. Instead I would like to take a look at the genius of William Goldman and some of the deeper meaning behind the story.

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT: I would stop reading the review now if you want to go into the book without potentially spoiling anything. While I am not revealing anything about the story itself, it may make your read of the book a little less satisfying. So there’s that.

In case you do not already know, the official title of The Princess Bride is The Princess Bride - S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, abridged by William Goldman. Not only did Goldman write an amazing story with great characters and dialogue, but he made up a story about another fictional man who wrote the story. (This would be Morgenstern.) Goldman does not stop there though. He then goes on to make up a fictitious story about his father reading him Morgenstern’s story when he was a kid, and later about the process of “abridging” the story. What I find even more amusing about the fictional backstory of the book is that after reading some other reviews and comments online pertaining to Morgenstern it would appear that a lot of folks believe the story. Either that or they like to play along. I would have done so myself but it would have been hard to elaborate on this aspect of the story otherwise.

I was unable to find much to complain about while reading this book but I will at least share one part I thought could have been better. The characters were great but they seemed a bit two-dimensional at times and I think Goldman could have expanded on the wonderful basis he created for them. Again, this may have been purposeful on Goldman’s part but it is hard to tell with him sometimes.

I am having trouble coming up with much else to say about The Princess Bride without giving away elements of the story, something I want to avoid. So instead of elaborating further, I’ll leave you with a quote from the book about what elements make up The Princess Bride.

“Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions. Miracles.”