What’s the Story?
Well, you’ve seen the Princess Bride film, yeah? It’s like that, but a book.
What’s the Problem?
The main problem is that this book doesn’t add hugely much. If you’ve seen the film, you’ve pretty much read the book except for one thing…
The basic premise of the book is that there was this great writer, Morgenstern, who wrote this epic and Goldman had it read to him when he was a sick kid (sound familiar, everyone who’s seen the film?). Therefore, Goldman isn’t actually writing The Princess Bride, he’s just translating the traditional book.
Goldman takes this idea very seriously.
So much so that, throughout the book, he’ll interrupt the passage to talk about bits he left out because he didn’t like them, or to praise Morgenstern for writing such amazing characters and prose. These constant interruptions get annoying, especially when you remember/realise that there was no Morgenstern; Goldman is writing the thing from scratch; he’s just pretending he’s translating it.
I mean, kudos to him for sticking with it all the way through the book and never doing a nod-nod, wink-wink that it’s all false, but still… he’s interrupting an interesting story to go on about things that weren’t interesting enough to put in there. It’s like if I wrote a book (foolishness, I know) and in the final, published version, added comments every time anything had changed from the first draft.
And occasionally stopped the story to complement myself on how well it was all going.
What’s the Solution?
Watch the film.
The additions here are mainly backstory for Buttercup and Wesley’s romance and for Fezzik and Inigo. Those bits are interesting because they provide information the film doesn’t. The rest of it… is well written, but not new. And some bits don’t come off as polished as the film.
It has a different ending to the film, though. Might be worth reading for that.
Oh, and do not read the prologue/foreward/whatever happens before Chapter One. Trust me; that’s 30 pages of crap no one needs to read (it’s the story of how Goldman first came to translate The Princess Bride because he couldn’t find an English language version for his son, and then he did but it was long and shit, so he wanted to cut it down, and… yeah. It goes on and on.)