Book review: The Princess Bride

Recently I’ve been working on a sort of epic fantasy parody called Disenchanted, and I was feeling in need of inspiration, so I decided to see how William Goldman handled a humorous fantasy adventure story in The Princess Bride.

I have, of course, seen the movie, and yes I love it. How could I not?

The book is quite good, and while many scenes in the movie follow the book verbatim, there are a number of differences, and I think that in those cases the moviemakers made the right call. Maybe I’m biased, having seen the movie before I read the book, but I think the movie holds together a little better. The book is a bit darker too.

I had also heard that the book was an abridged version of another book by someone named S. Morgenstern, and I will admit that I was duped into believing Morgenstern was a real person until I read the afterward. (I got suspicious when Goldman explains that the Morgenstern estate wanted Stephen King to write the sequel.) It’s an interesting narrative device, pretending to be writing an abridgment of another book, but I’m not sure it actually improves the book. Goldman is so deadpan and convincing about it that it hardly qualifies as satire. It’s more weird than anything else, reading about Goldman’s (fictional?) marital problems in between passages about Wesley and Buttercup.

Still, an easy and enjoyable read overall.