The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (1 November — 5 November)

Finally! I’ve been meaning to read this book ever since I bought it a couple of years ago, but I’ve always been reading something else instead. A lull in my library book stream led me to pick it up, and I’m really glad I did.

If you’ve seen the movie, you pretty much know how the book goes, interruptions and all. If not…

The Princess Bride is a “classic tale of true love and high adventure” featuring the titular Buttercup, who falls in love with her farm boy, Westley. Westley leaves for America to make his fortune but his ship is taken over by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who takes no prisoners. Disconsolate, Buttercup — who also happens to be one of the most beautiful women in the world — allows herself to be engaged to the prince of Florin so long as she doesn’t have to love him.

Unfortunately, that whole not-loving thing is pretty real and the new Princess finds herself kidnapped by a Sicilian, a giant Turk, and a wizard Spanish swordsman. She is also being followed by a man in black who wants to kidnap her from her kidnappers…

The greatest part of the book is its really tongue-in-cheek feel. Goldman wrote it as an abridgement of a great Florinese novel (which, of course, it’s not) and there’s an entire chapter devoted to talking about why he loves the book and how he ended up abridging it. He also cuts in throughout the novel to talk about why he cut 15 pages here and 87 pages there. Of course, Goldman leaves in all of the “original author’s” asides, which are equally ridiculous.

I read the 25th anniversary edition, so there’s also a bit in the back about Goldman abridging the sequel, Buttercup’s Baby, and how Stephen King was going to do it but he said Goldman could abridge the first chapter, and then there’s the first chapter, but at that point I was really just done with the conceit. Part of that first chapter is really engaging, but most of it just doesn’t make any sense and I’m not sure where Goldman was going with it. Alas.

Rating: 8/10