The Princess Bride By William Goldman A Review

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Title: The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publishing Date: July 15, 2003



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.


The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a story most of us know. I am sure many of you have seen the movie hundreds of times. I never realized there was even a book until I was browsing in the library and spotted it. Being familiar with the story did not prepare me for how much I would enjoy the book.

The edition I picked-up from the library is the 30th Anniversary Edition published in 2003. This edition includes a new introduction plus the introduction for the 25th Anniversary Edition. While I have the best intentions to read introductions, while finding them dull, that is not the case here. Even though both introductions are fairly long, do not skip them. They are full of movie making stories and tidbits about William Goldman’s life. In both cases, they really add to the story.

My favorite device used in The Princess Bride is where William Goldman speaks directly to the reader. The passages are italicized and found in both the beginning and middle of chapters. Goldman may explain a cut made to the original work or how his father skipped over chapters as he read him the story. I love sarcasm above many forms of humor and found these sections charming. It made me feel as if William Goldman was reading along with me.

The story remains fairly close to the movie. There are no major deviations or surprises. There are two areas that are expanded on from the movie, the extent of awfulness that is Prince Humperdinck and the full story of how Inigo’s father is murdered by the six-fingered man. I understand why this was left on the editing room floor for the movie but appreciated the richness it adds to the story.

As S. Morgenstern said about his own book, The Princess Bride is a “classic tale of true love and high adventure.” I completely agree.


Cover image and summary from goodreads.


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