Wednesday, September 10, 2014

William Goldman - The Princess Bride

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts - The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.
As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she'll meet Vizzini - the criminal philosopher who'll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik - the gentle giant; Inigo - the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen - the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup's one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.

Comment: I've wanted to read this story for a long, long time. I know there's a famous movie based on it and I haven't seen it but when I can, I'll look for it. This is another book I got to offer a different friend who also wanted to read it. I hope she ends up liking it more than me, because I felt a bit disappointed with it, despite the good elements it has.

This is the love story of Buttercup and Westley and how they got separated in the beginning of the story and Buttercup had to marry the prince whom she didn't love and then Westley returns to save her from three kidnappers but they are caught and he is tortured and the rest is spoilers.
This is a mix of fantasy and satirical comedy in my opinion. I really thought this would be a romance with adventure, but sadly this attempt to stay out of spoilers before reading also kept me away from the true reality of how this book was born and what it means.

The book's idea is based on a fake author's work and existence, which this (real) author, William Goldman, decided to abridge. Then the real author wrote a complex net of story's development, comments, cuts and fictional explanations for the edition we now have in our hands.
To summarize, William Goldman wrote the whole thing and invented another author whose work he wanted to abridge but is actually his own work. It's a bit tricky.

The book is divided between the story, which is full of notes where the author explains some things and why he is cutting text there, and the introductions and after notes where he adds more fiction to the already imaginative and complicated plot.
So, basically, the whole book is made up, even the notes where he mentions personal clues about his own life. I think the idea has merit and it really the proof he has a lot going on in his head, but I must admit I am a bit disappointed the actual story isn't as thrilling as I imagined. Maybe because I thought this was more romantic, based on the overall idea I had of the movie, which I've heard was a wonderful love story well liked by so many people.
So, in the end, the book is more like a satire of the way royalty behaves and how we see romance stories and adventures and it has a mix of fantasy in there as well.

Throughout the book, Buttercup and Westley have to deal with many obstacles to be happy, but I must say, I wasn't fond of the end because it was really confuse and not as happy as it could be. Meaning I didn't like the HEA chosen, or the way it was presented.
All the characters act almost "cartoonish" and obviously with the comedy and satirical aims in mind. There's a purpose in their actions and role which is hard to separate from the fictional goal of the author. Still, it has many funny scenes and comments which helps with the story, but overall, it wasn't exactly what I thought I'd get based on opinions out there.

The Princess Bride must be one of those stories that works better as a movie, because for me, despite understanding the hidden meanings of the whole thing, all the sharp notes about the comedy and adventure elements the author wanted to put in evidence, I still felt a bit disappointed with the execution and the end. I guess thinking you'd get something and realizing it's something altogether in the first place can be mood depressing.

So, in the end, apart from the funny scenes, the idea of the story and the whole imagination and idea of the author I have to say I thought this would be much better and for me, personally, the book didn't completely work, which I feel is a pity because I really wanted to.
Still, it can be seen through different points of view, so it can be great, it just wasn't for me globally, and what I thought I'd get.
Grade: 6/10

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