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The Princess Bride by William Goldman
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's review
Jun 02, 12

bookshelves: review-written
Read from May 03 to 09, 2012

My full review: http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.b...

As I began to read the beginning of the book I was completely confused. I had assumed that the film’s use of a story within a story, with the Grandfather reading the book to his ill grandson, was a clever invention by the film makers, but that is how the book is written. However, the film’s version of it is slightly more successful, mainly because it is more concise and is a conversation between two people, rather than one man’s recollections. We are presented with a short biography for Mr Goldman outlining the books role in his youth, but it goes on rather too much and is not as funny as it should be. The asides that litter the book are sometimes funny, but often rather dull as they criticize the supposed original book for its long lists of details. I am not sure how I would have reacted to these as a person who had not seen the film, but I would not have missed them if they had been deleted.

One problem I always had with the film is that Buttercup is almost totally unsympathetic. At the beginning she is just horrible to poor Westley, then she is forced to agree to the marriage and is just a baggage of uselessness that gets handed around and provides a reason for all the action. As a character she is rather uninteresting and stereotypical, which is always disappointing for me, as I prefer female characters to have some agency. She is supposed to be pretty stupid, which I fail to find endearing, and the book does not really add anything else to her character. Indeed, many of the characters are pretty dull and show no progression. The Prince and the Count are mostly one-note cardboard cutouts of ‘EVIL!’ with nothing particularly interesting about them to provide a reason for their behavior. Westley fairs little better, although he does get some good lines, but he is basically the stereotypical hero, with no character arc that I could discern. Indeed, the only characters that actually have a journey through the story are Inigo and Fezzik, who have interesting back-stories and are profoundly changed by their experiences. This makes them seem like the only ‘real’ people in this fairy tale and they remain my favorites, especially Inigo.

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05/07/2012 page 80
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message 1: by Carl (new)

Carl V. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. I actually read it a year or so before the film's initial release and while I too thought the beginning was too long and drawn out, I really enjoyed the story. And I loved the film as well. Your criticisms are valid, but for a light-hearted fairy tale it is first rate.

Of course I'm a little biased because the second time I saw the film was on a first date with the girl who was later to be my wife. Needless to say we are both very attached to the movie.

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