The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure (Review)

November 3, 2010

Book cover for "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman.Title: The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

Author: William Goldman

Publication Year: 1973

Pages: 512

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure

Source: Purchased e-book version from KoboBooks

From the cover:

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be… well… a lot less than the man of her dreams?

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.

Eventually to be adapted for the silver screen, THE PRINCESS BRIDE was originally a beautifully simple, insightfully comic story of what happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince in the world — and he turns out to be a son of a bitch. Guaranteed to entertain both young and old alike by combining scenes of rowsing fantasy with hilarious reality, THE PRINCESS BRIDE secures Goldman’s place as a master storyteller.

This has got to be one of the most absolutely fabulous pseudo-fantasy novels of all time. Or, well, parody novels. Or silly novels. Or adventure novels. Or really anything.

I’ve heard, of course, of the movie The Princess Bride, but I never knew what it was about – nor did I realize that it had been a book first. So when Chrisbookarama announced that she was going to be hosting a read-a-long in October, I joined right on in. And now, having read it, I definitely don’t regret it.

In fact, I think that this book now has a place in my Favourite Books Of All Time.

Goldman really turns the typical fairy tale on its head in The Princess Bride. The beautiful girl actually falls in love with the farm boy. After she loses him, she ends up being forced to marry the Prince, on the threat of death if she turns him down. But, in the end, there’s more than one person trying to kill her, and her fiance is even more evil than she originally thought. He has a Zoo of Death, for crying out loud!

What makes this story even more awesome, though, is the way that Goldman narrates. He’s witty, sarcastic, and parenthetical – all of which make for a rollicking good read. I was seriously laughing out loud through more than one section. The characters are just cliched enough to be funny, but also unique enough to be interesting.

In the end, the mix of hilarious characters, events, and story-telling is what makes The Princess Bride into the fantastic read that it is. If you haven’t already read it (whether or not you have watched and enjoyed the movie), you should pick up a copy of this book as soon as possible!



  • Amy November 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    This book sounds wonderful! I’ve watched the movie numerous times and LOVE it. I don’t know why I’ve never read the book or even thought about doing so. But now it’s on my tbr list!

    Thanks for a great review!

  • Chrisbookarama November 3, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Yay! Yes, it was silly and I’m glad I read it too.

  • Katy November 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Oh boy. Now I feel the need to read this book. The movie was so fun! But you’ve made it one of your Favorite Books of All Time, so I am feeling like I’ve missed out on something really good…

  • Leeswammes (Judith) November 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I’m also glad I read it (I think), because it was quite a novel way of writing a story.

    Fooling the reader into thinking there was a longer book by S. Morgenstern, and the interruptions by the author during the story, were things I hadn’t encountered before.

    But the interruptions also bothered me a lot and in the end, I didn’t really enjoy the story all that much.

    My review (of the whole book) is here:

  • Shelley November 4, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I really enjoyed this except for the intro and added ending. It’s hard to categorize, isn’t it?

  • Cindy Swanson November 7, 2010 at 12:37 am

    The movie is one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time, literally…and I’ve always wondered if I would enjoy the book as much as I do the movie. Your review makes it sound as if I would, so I’m definitely going to seek out a copy!
    Hope you’ll stop by my review when you can.

  • Seth November 7, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Different strokes for different folks, I suppose, because I couldn’t stand the book. Love the movie, though!

  • iubookgirl November 9, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    So glad you enjoyed it! I was happy to finally read the book. I’ve been meaning to for years. I agree that Goldman’s asides really added to the book.

  • erisian23 November 10, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    havent read this in years..

    ooh, the memories.

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