For the month of April, we have to pick a book that’s been left on the list for more than 6 months, and this book definitely fits the bill. for a start, I never quite finished the original by Morgenstern. For another, this abridged version by William Goldman has been left to gather dust since, gosh, last July? Anyway, here’s the verdict:
Title: The Princess Bride
Author: William Goldman, who abridged S. Morgenstern’s original into what he calls the ‘good parts’ version as read to him by his father.
Year published:1998, first published in 1973
Why did you get this book?
I never quite finished reading the Morgensten original in my teens, so when I stumbled upon this abridged copy by William Goldman, who’s a great fan of this ‘classic tale of true love and high adventure’, I had to try to at least complete it … y’know get the full picture.
Do you like the cover?
I like this cover quite well. I think it depicts Buttercup and Westley escaping the evil cowardly Prince Humperdinck and it evokes the mood pretty well.
Did you enjoy the book?
Okay, a warning first. If you hate cliffhanger endings, don’t pick this up. Morgenstern actually left the story dangling so you’re left to wonder a little over whether the protagonists escaped the villian or not. That said, I enjoyed it so much I’m going to try borrowing the original from the library. I’m going to look out for the sequel, Butercup’s Baby. This copy includes the first chapter of the long-lost sequel, and it reads like another adventure.
I was chasing the adventure more so than the love story. I do wish he’d not cut away so much of the parts on Buttercup’s royalty school lessons, which include lovemaking (yes, they apparently have those classes during those times!) and some really funny stuff that I vaguely recall. There was also the reunion at the bottom of the cliff before the lovers escaped into the Fire Swamp, which suffered the cut from this version.
But, overall, I’d say this is a very fast-paced version of the original, which could put you to sleep in some parts.I recall barely making it through the genealogy of the Prince, and the packing bits.
What was really unique was the way Goldman interact with the reader through his comments and explanations of what was cut and why. He also sometimes theorizes on why Morgenstern allow a certain scene to take place.
Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again?
The original author wasn’t new to me, but Mr Goldman is. He peppers the book with very insightful comments throughout, and you can tell that he really loves this story, as his father told it to him.
Are you keeping it or passing it on?
This is definitely a keeper on my shelf.
You have to read the foreword/ introduction to understand how and why Goldman decided to do an abridgement of this Morgenstern masterpiece. It’s a story on its own that is very touching and inspiring. I’ve also got the movie starring Robin Wright on video CD, and plan to watch that very soon.