Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride. William Goldman. 1973/2003. 398 pages. [Source: Bought] 

First sentence: THE YEAR that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette.
 Premise/plot: William Goldman sets out to abridge S. Morgenstern's classic novel The Princess Bride. (Or so he'd have you believe.) One narrative throughout is William Goldman speaking directly to the reader about the reading, writing, editing, abridging, publishing process. He also slips in some family stories. The other narrative--perhaps the better narrative--is the novel itself starring Buttercup, Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik. Goldman promises readers the "good bits" version, and he delivers. This fantasy novel has action, adventure, drama, and romance. 

My thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this one. Though I'd started this one a few times in the past, this was my first time to complete it. I have of course seen the movie dozens of times. I think the two are equally satisfying.  

The horse’s name was “Horse” (Buttercup was never long on imagination) and it came when she called it, went where she steered it, did what she told it.
 The farm boy did what she told him too. “Farm Boy, fetch me this”; “Get me that, Farm Boy—quickly, lazy thing, trot now or I’ll tell Father.” “As you wish.” That was all he ever answered. “As you wish.” Fetch that, Farm Boy. “As you wish.”
 Buttercup’s mother hesitated, then put her stew spoon down. (This was after stew, but so is everything. When the first man first clambered from the slime and made his first home on land, what he had for supper that first night was stew.)
“Did you forget to pay your taxes?” (This was after taxes. But everything is after taxes. Taxes were here even before stew.)

 Clearly, the magic is in Westley’s feeding. Show me how you do it, would you, Westley?” “Feed the cows for you, Countess?” “Bright lad.” “When?” “Now will be soon enough,” and she held out her arm to him. “Lead me, Westley.” Westley had no choice but to take her arm.
“Strange things are happening,” Buttercup’s parents said, and off they went too, bringing up the rear of the cow-feeding trip, watching the Count, who was watching their daughter, who was watching the Countess. Who was watching Westley.
“Terrible things can happen when you’re overtired. I was overtired the night your father proposed.”
The girls in the village followed the farm boy around a lot, whenever he was making deliveries, but they were idiots, they followed anything.
I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then.
Every time you said ‘Farm Boy do this’ you thought I was answering ‘As you wish’ but that’s only because you were hearing wrong. ‘I love you’ was what it was, but you never heard, and you never heard.”
“I hear you now, and I promise you this: I will never love anyone else. Only Westley. Until I die.” 
THERE HAVE BEEN five great kisses since 1642 B.C., when Saul and Delilah Korn’s inadvertent discovery swept across Western civilization. (Before then couples hooked thumbs.)
 But from a narrative point of view, in 105 pages nothing happens. Except this: ‘What with one thing and another, three years passed.’
“People are always thinking I’m so stupid because I’m big and strong and sometimes drool a little when I get excited.”
 “The reason people think you’re so stupid,” the Sicilian said, “is because you are so stupid. It has nothing to do with your drooling.”
 “He’ll never catch up!” the Sicilian cried. “Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word!” the Spaniard snapped. “I don’t think it means what you think it does.”
Love is many things, none of them logical.
“Life is pain,” his mother said. “Anybody that says different is selling something.”
“Why do you wear a mask and hood?” Fezzik asked. “I think everybody will in the near future” was the man in black’s reply. “They’re terribly comfortable.”
“Guess?” Vizzini cried. “I don’t guess. I think. I ponder. I deduce. Then I decide. But I never guess.”
The past has a way of being past.
“Then let’s look on the bright side: we’re having an adventure, Fezzik, and most people live and die without being as lucky as we are.”
“I’m retired,” Max said, “anyway, you wouldn’t want someone the King got rid of, would you? I might kill whoever you want me to miracle.”  “He’s already dead,” the skinny guy said. “He is, huh?” Max said, a little interest in his voice now. He opened the door a peek’s worth again. “I’m good at dead.”
“You see,” Max explained as he pumped, “there’s different kinds of dead: there’s sort of dead, mostly dead, and all dead. 
'True love,’ he said,” Inigo cried. “You heard him—true love is what he wants to come back for. That’s certainly worthwhile.”
"True love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. Everybody knows that.”
 “Hello,” he said. “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Stephanie said...

I LOVED this!!! I read it out loud to my husband and son when my son was 5 or 6 years old, and we all enjoyed it. It's such a fun book.

Drew @ Man About Words said...

My daughter just read this and LOVED it. It's hilarious because she was complaining it was abridged and then we spent forever trying to find the 'original' version only to find out that the abridged version is the real version and it was all a gimmick. I need to read this asap as I love the movie.