Posted by: Ele Quigan | July 20, 2011

‘The Princess Bride’ William Goldman

A very dear friend of mine sent me a message out of the blue at the weekend, and reminded me in a way – how much I used to love writing book reviews on my blog.  I have really missed it – and weirdly – I have the lamest reason for not doing it for a while – I got an iphone.  I resisted the smart phone requirement for a VERY long ime – I never thought I needed it.

And now, I am so seemingly addicted to the wealth of ‘interesting stuff’ on the Internet keeping me awake most nights till 1-2am – even my tolerant husband has to remind me occasionally ‘The Internet will still be there in the morning’…  So I’ve decided to try and kick the habit (#longreads, you’ve got me through many a sleepless night – I shall miss you) and get back into reading again.  Stuff the lack of room in the house, we’ll just get another bookcase.

So I did read a few bits and bobs over the last 6 months – and the latest is this – The Princess Bride.

I’ve never seen the movie.  Which is strange considering I AM an 80’s child, but I was more concerned with The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and Mighty Mouse.

Seeing this on a second hand bookstand, I decided to give it a shot.

WHAT.  A. WASTE of time. (maybe that’s why I haven’t got back into reading as much as I thought I might…)

It’s a retelling of an old book, and the 25th anniversary version, so full of author commentary stuff that really didn’t add anything to the book – did we really need to go through the slightly strange Stephen King visit?  Did we need to know the whole son/wife palaver?  did we need an interruption in italics to nearly every second paragraph ruining any sense of flow? (maybe there’s a reason why I don’t watch director commentaries?).  It really made some of the tedious bits seem even MORE tedious – and generally slowed down the flow of the novel.

Bits I enjoyed

– Finally I get the internet meme ‘My name is Inigo Montoya – you killed my father – prepare to die’

– Finally I feel like I get the story everyone talks about.

Bits I didn’t enjoy

– The rest.

Was it just made to be a screenplay?  I don’t know.  Was the story really that interesting?  Not really.  Yes there was some interesting characterisation (mr Montoya again, years training for revenge, and I was mildly fascinated by the villan – but that’s cause they’re so easy to hate) and I guess I felt the only female character was a sappy twit who added nothing but shame on her sex and a witless comment here and there that just ruined it for me.

I bet if a novel was created from say – Princess Mononoke – it would be far better than this, even as a post-film novelisation.

I know I will offend a fair few fans of the movie (yes yes, childhoods were based around recreating scenes from this film, I hear you) but I just can’t bring myself to watch it after the painful plough through the novel.

I am tempted to read the original to see if that is much better, I’m sure there were some bits cut that might have been interesting (the princess’s training from commoner to potential queen for example, which was dropped by Goldman- for being boring) or maybe I’m just grasping at straws for a stronger female character.

Maybe even it’s movies like this that have solidified such a ‘There is a perfect man for me out there’ ideal, (or that and Cosmo/Dolly/Girlfriend magazine that we all read growing up), and the embarrassment of being a smart person in those defining years, or even the thought that your one true love will one day come back – even after they broke your heart many years ago – who knows.  I do however believe that stories like this do nothing to encourage women to be proud of who they are, and not need a man to guide who they ‘should’ be – and for goodness sake – women out there, ‘the one’ is a bullsh*t Hollywood construct that is neither realistic or a positive influence on your life!  Don’t WAIT!  Get out there and meet people!  Noone is 100% perfect.  Noone is just who you think they are.  Noone is faultless, or will never piss you off, nor will make you feel amazing 100% of the time – cause if they did?  How fracking BORING would that relationship be!  (And no I’m not suggesting that relationships should be all negative either – just balanced)

Phew.  Rant over.

So yeah, in a nutshell – I didn’t really enjoy this book…

I’ve missed blogging.  Philosophical rants about books that probably mean nothing in relation to what I’ve taken them to be?  Bah, who cares, blogs are all about opinion.  At least this one is anyways…  & Thanks dear friend for reminding me how much I love to rant/rave about stuff like this.  Even if noone else out there reads these, it’s nice to get my thoughts out there on paper sometimes.



  1. I’m sorry you didn’t like the book. Maybe you need to see the movie to enhance your enjoyment of the book?

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