Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Princess Bride: Milestone 1

One of my reading goals for the fall was to join a readalong. Reading is lonely business -- unless of course you're reading to someone else -- and I thought it might be fun to participate in an ongoing discussion. So I couldn't believe my luck when I stumbled onto an announcement that Chrisbookarama was hosting a readalong of The Princess Bride, a book I had never read, but based on a movie that I love more everytime I see it.

Which is why it came as quite a shock when I had some trouble getting into the book.

You see, I wasn't really prepared for the Introduction. I was all ready for true love and high adventure, and what I got was altogether different: William Goldman's "mockumentary" explanation of how he came to write both the book and the movie. Actually, the story is a pretty good one, albeit a little self-indulgent on Goldman's part, I think. I just hadn't anticipated it.

But once I got to Chapter 1 The Bride, the book delivered on the movie's promise. That's especially true because without the time constraints of a movie, Goldman has a lot more time to develop the characters. Buttercup, in particular, seems like a much more substantial character in the book, as when she declares her love for Westley, and he slams the door in her face.

"Chalk it up to experience, old girl, and get on with the morning. Buttercup stood, made her bed, changed her clothes, combed her hair, smiled, and burst out again in a fit of weeping. Because there was a limit to just how much you could lie to yourself."

The other characters are also more fleshed out -- Humperdinck, in particular, appears more villianous than in the movie, where Count Rugen appeared to be the "brains" of the operation. Now that the high adventure has begun, I am eager to read on. I'm also eager to hear everyone else's thoughts, especially about the way Goldman "inserts" himself into the text. Thanks to Chrisbookarama for hosting this readalong!

Next stop, Guilder!


  1. I was anxious for the real story to start too. I loved that part with Buttercup. She got her just desserts after teasing Westley for so long.

  2. Although I found the introduction too long, I didn't quite have your problem, because I never saw the movie! So I just take the book as it comes, without any expectations.

  3. I love readalongs too!
    I almost wish I hadn't read the inroduction. "Self-indulgent" is a good way to describe it.
    I'm finding story itself very entertaining!

  4. I was thinking about it this weekend, and wondered if the phenomenal success of the movie didn't have something to do with Goldman's insertion of himself into the text. After all, most people have no idea who wrote the script for a movie. Instead, we remember the actors and the director. Maybe he wanted to finally get the credit he thought he deserved!


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