- The Good: Action, adventure, and RoUSs (Rodents of Unusual Size)
- The Bad: None. Inconceivable, you say? That’s right, nothing.
- The Literary: Frame story in which the writer provides commentary (and pokes fun) of the story he’s abridging
When he was a boy, William Goldman was first turned on to books when his father read him the S. Morgenstern classic The Princess Bride. He loved it so much he gave the book to his own son to read, but overwhelmingly, his son gave up after the first chapter. When William re-reads the book as an adult, he realized that his father had left out all the boring parts. Reinvigorated, William obtains permission from his publisher to abridge the book and re-release it to the world.
If you love the movie The Princess Bride, you’ll love the book. Honestly, they are extremely similar, thanks to William Goldman writing both the “abridged” novel and the screenplay. There are lots more little details, backstory, context, internal character thoughts, but the dialogue is nearly word for word, and it’s hard to not imagine the movie as I listen to the fantastic narration by Rob Reiner, the film’s director.
Back to the “abridged” nature of the story, which never reveals that S. Morgenstern’s classic doesn’t actually exist. I love the frame story, and Goldman is able to simultaneously impart his excitement of the story he is about to read to you and also give it a history that adds weight to its timelessness. Not that The Princess Bride needs much help to feel enduring. It has practically everything a kid’s book could want, including pirates, revenge, fencing, and torture, as well as the most beautiful lady in the land, true love, and miracles. Not to mention it’s comedy gold.
So for those of you who are actually coming in for the first time, a lovely girl named Buttercup realizes she’s in love with Wesley the farm boy, but with imperfect timing, he leaves to pursue wealth in America. Waiting for his summons, Buttercup is devastated when she receives news that Wesley’s ship was captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts and the entire crew was killed. Crushed, Buttercup reveals she could never love again, even to Prince Humperdink, who asks for her hand in marriage.
Yes, yes, yes, just please go read this short, witty, charming, beautiful piece of fiction. You won’t regret it.
“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”