Friday, May 4, 2012

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

I remember reading this book a few years ago, so when I saw it in BookOff, I knew I had to buy it. And re-reading it has been so fun! I haven't realised how much of the plot I'd forgotten. Plus, now that I actually know more about the book, I can appreciate the jokes way better.

The Princess Bride (I'm sorry to tell you this if you're unaware), isn't an "abridged" work. It's an entirely original work by William Goldman, who plays a metafictional joke on us. When I first read the book, I really did think it was an abridgement, but then, I read wikipedia. I must admit, I was disappointed, I really wanted to read the 'original' work, since it's supposed to be a thousand pages long (and I like the stuff about royalty training, the descriptions and things like that).

This is why the introduction is very important. In fact, it's part of the narrative itself. While you can read and enjoy The Princess Bride without reading the introduction(s), treating it as a good story, most of the metaficitonal jokes come about in the introduction, when he talks about the 'original author' S. Morgenstern.

As for the story itself, it's good. Although it's essentially a romance, it's not sappy in any way. Buttercup and Westley are both interesting characters with their own strengths. But I would have liked to read more about Westley's pirate days. The book basically travels through a few arcs: The farm (where Buttercup is only in the top 20 most beautiful list due to her potential) - p.s. this is where Buttercup realises she loves Westley). Royalty (where Buttercup almost marries the wrong guy) and the Consequences (the exciting part). And by the way, this is my way of diving the novel; there are many chapters with different chapter names. But I like the flow of 3 arcs.

The last part of the book is just Buttercup's Baby, the supposed sequel to The Princess Bride. It comes with a lengthy explanation about Stephen King and copyrights, but boils down to: William Goldman is having a hard time writing a sequel (at least that's what I think). But, since it also comes with an 'abridged' first chapter, you can enjoy reading it and dreaming up your own continuations.

The style of the book shifts between the narrative style and the authorial intrusions. They're similar to Terry Pratchett's footnotes, with the same type of humour (although in the Discworld series, the authorial voice isn't so strongly felt). I kept laughing at the authorial intrusions, which were so cleverly done.

I really wish that either Buttercup's Baby will come out or William Goldman will release the "unabridged" version of The Princess Bride(:

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