The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Ballantine Trade: ISBN 0345418263 PubDate: 07/01/03
Review by EJ McClure
480 pgs. List price $ 14.95
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William Goldman’s cult classic The Princess Bride is a mind-twisting tale of true love--and revenge. Pick up the 30th anniversary trade paperback edition and scale the Cliffs of Insanity in pursuit of the beautiful Buttercup and her kidnappers. Plunge into the Fire Swamp to elude the evil Prince Humperdinck. Meet the Dread Pirate Roberts face to face. Go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line. And, if you dare, explore the Zoo of Death. All conveniently packaged in a take-along trade paperback to help you while away airport security delays or, if you are more fortunate, a sunny day at the beach.
Like the movie of the same name, The Princess Bride shuttles back and forth between the here-and-now and the land of Florin. Billed as “S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure,” the book purports to be an abridged version of an old tale the author loved since boyhood, and eventually decided to reintroduce to the world in a more accessible form. Goldman’s substantial list of screenplay credits include Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, All The President’s Men, and Maverick, among others. His keen sense of dramatic timing and clever use of foreshadowing will keep you turning pages, eager to find out whether Buttercup becomes Prince Humperdinck’s bride, and if the Spaniard ever gets revenge on the six-fingered swordsman who killed his father.
The whimsical dialogue and tongue-in-cheek narrative will whisk you away from muggy summer evenings and droning air conditioners to a distant and magical land where miracles might occur (if Miracle Max can find the recipe for a resurrection pill in the Encyclopedia of Spells and the Hex Appendix). My only regret is that Billy Crystal’s memorable admonishment - “Have fun storming the castle!” - was the product of own keen sense of humor, and thus is not be to found in the book. Nonetheless, The Princess Bride remains a delight, whether you’re rereading it to amuse yourself or inflicting it on unsuspecting children who may never be quite the same.