This has been one of the longest weeks in recent memory. Then as soon as the weekend came, I decided to neglect everything I have to do and relax. Yesterday Emma and I made a cake, and then I got to babysit my favorite three year-old on the planet, and it was awesome. I love that child and it completely lifted my spirits. I got home rather late, though, and then, THEN, I finished The Princess Bride. In case math is a little difficult for you, that means that I finished the book sixteen hours before I wrote the review. That means that for the first time since I began this project, I broke my own rule. But I’m not sorry. Because THIS morning, I woke at six to be out the door by six-thirty, to be babysitting again by seven. These were two different children, on the more difficult side, so I brought my sister with me to help me hold down the fort. She was very helpful, but there were a couple of tantrums and one brief collision of skulls that left no permanent damage. For nine hours.
Then we received a very gracious sum of money, and scooted on our way. I’m very tired, but I need to write this review before I procrastinate anymore.
Mother just came in and started talking about cake.
Is there anyone here who hasn’t heard of The Princess Bride, the movie? I feel like less people actually know that it’s available as a book. Well, it was originally a book, and I had it recommended to me by people who also love the movie, so I thought it was worth a shot. For those who aren’t familiar with the basic plot, this is the story of Westley and Buttercup, who fell in love before Westley was killed on sea by the Dread Pirate Roberts and Buttercup was pursued by the evil Prince Humperdinck, then kidnapped by the evil Sicilian Vizzini, the Spaniard Inigo, and the Turk Fezzik. (Fun fact: spell check doesn’t recognize the words Vizzini, Fezzik, or Humperdinck, but it recognizes Inigo.)
The book also used the framing device of the sick son being read to by his heavily-accented father. Remember that one from the movie? The way the book was written, William Goldman has been read The Princess Bride by his father when he was young and ill, and when his son turned eleven, he wanted him to read the book. But when he found it, he realized that his father had done some… abridging. What S. Morgenstern had written when he first published the book was a satirical history of Florin, and Will Goldman’s father had turned it into a classic tale of true love and high adventure.
In case you’re wondering, that original book doesn’t exist; I looked. Will Goldman made it up. So occasionally as you’re reading he’ll interrupt with with red text and leave an aside note to explain something, or tell something interesting.
One interesting thing, which is impossible not to notice, is that the first chapter has been almost completely left out of the movie- it’s the introduction chapter where you meet EVERYONE- but after that, EVERYTHING was in the movie. Most of the dialog can be found in the movie, if slightly modified. There were a few things left out- the backstories of Inigo and Fezzick, and how they met Vizzini; their hardships in finding Westley; the existence of Humperdinck’s Zoo of Death. But basically everything was there.
Here’s what really sold the book for me, though, rather than say, “Well, in this case, I might as well watch the movie.” Goldman writes in such a way as to be simple, yet sincere, but every few pages or so he would include a sentence that knocked me flat. I can’t come up with any examples of them right now, but trust that they’re in there and they make the book about two-hundred times as readable. It was wonderful.
If you’ve never heard of the book, if you love the movie, or if you love true love, give this book a go. It was quite a good time, and a pleasant reprieve from the near-unbearable week I had. I’m not looking forward to this week ahead of me, either, but I can’t wait for Saturday! I’m having my favorite three year-old over at my house as her mom takes on some home-improvement projects. I’m very excited!
The next book (which I’ve already started) is… a classic. My teacher gave it to me because I’m currently studying World War I. I’m about twenty pages in so far (the kids today did have a few quiet moments that allowed for reading) and rather bored. I would rather read the next book from Val’s list, and then the books in my pile that I bought from B&N. And the book I just borrowed from Emma.