As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.
Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.
What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.
In short, it’s about everything
I read the abridged version and judging by what Goldman said took place in the chapters/sections that he took out, I’m glad I did. I don’t think I would have read the entirety of Morgenstern’s story if Goldman’s descriptions are accurate. I don’t read satire often, so I more than likely wouldn’t have even seen those bits as satire. And given up, wondering “What is the Point?” of showing this?
The book and movie have a lot of similarities. They are pretty close. However you get much deeper character understanding. Fezzik’s parents started enrolling him in fights when he was eight and dragged him from country to country to compete despite him hating fighting, until they died. You learn of how Inigo lived after his father died, along with the details of his father’s death. Even Miracle Max has an interesting history that’s revealed in the story.
Inigo and Fezzik did not have as easy a time getting Westley out of the Pet of Despair, which is actually called the Zoo of Death in the book. After getting passed the Albino, they have to get past snakes, bats and other horrors.
The ending is different. Everyone gets on the horse to escape, like they do in the movie. However, that’s not where the book ends. The book ends on a cliffhanger, leaving readers to decide whether and how the characters get a happy ending. After all, remember, Count Rugen did do a lot of damage to Inigo during their battle. So he’s bleeding badly. The ‘miracle’ Max performed on Westley is starting to reverse itself, which is reasonable with how it’s written in the book. Fezzik and Buttercup also get in trouble. And Prince Humperdink and his men are in hot pursuit of all of them.
The book gives a lot more characterization, details and a few extra adventures than the movie does. In the book you get to meet the Princess of Guilder, Buttercup’s parents and see how Humperdink ended up meeting Buttercup, among other things. I enjoyed this book. However, the movie is a good representation of the book. Or at least the abridged version. Unless you’re wanting a deeper understanding of the characters or the world, you don’t need to read it. But you won’t regret it either.