Wuv, Twue Wuv
If you don’t know what that’s from, please turn off your computer, go find a copy of The Princess Bride and watch it. Then come back. Because I’m not promising no spoilers here. This isn’t a review. Well, not really. It’s more of a rant, so hang on.
I had never heard of The Princess Bride until I joined a certain homeschool email group about eight years ago. Everyone there was always quoting PB and talking about how great it was. A few years ago, I finally gave in and rented the DVD. I was spectacularly underwhelmed. Perhaps I was having a bad day; maybe it had just been hyped so much by my friends that it couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations. I did finally understand all the quotes, though.
Fast forward to a couple months ago. When I mentioned (again) on that group that I just wasn’t a fan of the PB movie, a friend suggested I read the book. “There’s a book?” Yeah, I know. I didn’t know there was a book. Who’da thunk it? So off to the library I went. I ended up getting the 30th Anniversary Edition, and if you’re going to read the book, I recommend you get this edition. However, I can’t really recommend the book at all, so take that for what it’s worth.
See, here’s the thing. The Princess Bride was written by William Goldman, but the full title of the book is The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure. Except there is no S. Morgenstern. Almost all of the Introduction and about a quarter of the book is spent discussing how Goldman found the book for his son and what he went through with “Morgenstern’s” estate to get the rights to the book. And half the book is Goldman interjecting his comments into the story to tell us about all the stuff that he’s cutting out that “Morgenstern” had felt necessary to add, but that didn’t add anything to the story. We also get several personal stories that made me go, “Why is this even in here?” Except they’re not really personal stories. They’re as made-up as Westley’s and Buttercup’s story.
I understand this is some sort of literary device. Burroughs did it to some extent with A Princess of Mars. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. The book would have been so much better had Goldman just written the love/adventure story. In fact, that part of the book is almost word-for-word what you see in the movie. I feel like I wasted my time with the book, and you have to know I don’t feel that way very often.
After reading the book, I rented the movie again. I really must have been having a bad day or something the first time, because I loved the movie the second time around. Then when the boys came home, I had them watch it. They loved it. We watched it twice. Once with subtitles, once without. (Fezzik can be hard to understand.) Jeffrey wants me to buy a copy of the DVD.
So my advice for this one is skip the book, stick to the movie. You won’t hear me say that often, so mark your calendars. Then go watch The Princess Bride.