The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Review)

princess bride

The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a “good parts version” of “S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure.” Morgenstern’s original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern’s mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the “Classic Tale” nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.”

416 pages

Ok. I read this as part of my #KillYourTBR challenge for March, the prompt being “Read a book that was published in the decade you were born” I was born in 1977, so “The Princess Bride” fit the bill.

I have a vague recollection of watching the movie when I was growing up, but it isn’t a film that I hold dear, because to be honest I don’t really remember it.

I wanted to love this, I really wanted to. But I didn’t…unfortunately.

Yes it was entertaining. Yes it was funny. Yes some of the characters were endearing (I mean you Inigo Montoya!). BUT it just seemed really shallow and mildly offensive. People were referred to endlessly by their nationality – the Sicilian, the Turk, the Spaniard. The value of the female characters seemed to increase by how attractive they were. The women were also treated badly… the ‘man in black’ slaps Buttercup, xecusing his action by saying “When a woman lies she is reprimanded”. That is only one example.

I get that this is supposed to be an abridged version of an imaginary classic, AND it was written in the 1970’s. I also understand that it is probably supposed to be rather tongue in cheek. BUT I just didn’t get on with it. I almost stopped reading about halfway through, but ploughed on because the swashbuckling sections were good fun.

Honestly I totally get why there is a movie adaptation. I think if it is done well the film would be amazing. And for that reason I really want to watch it. I can imagine the goings on translating to film brilliantly. But it certainly wasn’t a page turner for me.

The story was great – I’ll give it that. I just found the writing style irritating. Unfortunately I have no idea why!

Finished on March 31st 2017


You can buy the book here if you wish:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman



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