Action, adventure, and true love! What more could you want? The Princess Bride brings you all of that. This is one of my favorite books. I have re-read it several times. I love the movie to death, and can’t even count the number of times I have watched it. It makes me happy.
The version of the book I just read is the 30th Anniversary Edition. It includes an introduction with details about how and why Goldman decided to write “the good parts” version of S. Morgenstern’s “classic tale of true love and high adventure”.
Here we have an odd situation where there is a story behind the story. S. Morgenstern is Simon Morgenstern, who never actually existed. Simon Morgenstern is a pseudonym used by William Goldman. Many authors have used pseudonyms (for a variety of reasons). Goldman used his pseudonym in a unique and clever way.
The Fantastic Fiction website has the following information:
Simon Morgenstern is a pseudonym, a narrative device invented by him to add another layer to his work, The Princess Bride. Goldman claims S. Morgenstern is the original Florinese author of The Princess Bride while he credits himself as the abridger who’s bringing the classic to an American audience. Goldman has also written The Silent Gondoliers under Morgenstern’s name.
In addition, William Goldman has said that when he was a little boy, and very sick, his father read him The Princess Bride. The movie, as you may well know, starts out with a grandfather reading the book The Princess Bride to his grandson who is sick and resting in bed.
Buttercup lives on a farm with her parents, is stunningly beautiful, and completely ignorant of that fact. There is a guy who helps out around the farm, whom she calls “Farm Boy” and orders around for years and years.
Eventually, Buttercup wakes up to the fact that she loves him, and that he loves her. (The book gives more details than the movie did). Instead of living happily ever after, Westley ( which is Farm Boy’s real name) leaves, to make his fortune. He gets killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, and Buttercup is completely heartbroken.
Years later, the Prince comes by, and out of the blue, asks Buttercup to marry him. They agree that it’s not at all important if she loves him or not (she doesn’t) and so, she accepts. What else is she to do, anyway?
But, before the wedding takes place, she gets kidnapped by Fezzik (a giant), Inigo (a great swordsman), and Vizzini (a brilliant Cicilian dwarf). They are followed by a mysterious “Man in Black”, who just might be the Dread Pirate Roberts. The chase is on.
Will the Prince save Buttercup, or will the kidnappers be able to put their nefarious plot into motion? Who is this “Man in Black”, anyhow? Will there be a “happily ever after”?
If you are a fan of the movie, you will love this book, even though you already know how it ends. The movie was so well cast that I always picture the actors, and remember their voices, when I read the book.
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