What can I say about the literary version of The Princess Bride (or, more aptly titled: The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure (The 'Good Parts' Version), abridged by William Goldman) that could possibly do it any justice. We ALL know that Rob Reiner gave us something very special in the movie, and it is sure to be passed down from generations to come as the epitome of fantasy/adventure films...but, how many have read the book?
The truth is, this book is an absolute classic and, as a father, if I were to recommend one story to be handed down to my future family...it would be William Goldman's abridgment of S. Morgenstern's The Princess Bride.
Now, both S. Morgenstern and an unabridged version of this tale (as well as Gilder and Floren, the story's two main locations which Goldman will swear to his grave are actually real) are non-existent, and that is part of what makes this story so original.
Goldman tells the tale from the 1st person perspective (himself) and also the 3rd (his father reading him the story), and breaks the fourth wall by addressing the audience as the author (or editor) of the original (completely non-existent) masterpiece...
It's all very confusing to explain.
But, here is what you need to know;
The story is as every bit magical as the movie (screenplay also written by William Goldman), and then some...some of the most key parts of the book were, in my very humble opinion, completely omitted from the movie. We get to see an origin for both Fezzik the Giant and Inigo the swordsman (both very crucial parts of the story), a first chapter to the (unreleased, of course) sequel to the book, and THE CROWN JEWEL OF THE BOOK ITSELF: The Zoo of Death.
All I can say about the Zoo, is that it
a) is (if possible) even more badass than it sounds, and...
b) is probably one of the top 3 most important parts of the book.
The book also alludes often to the unabridged version in humorous ways like talking about how Morgenstern would devote three entire chapters to buttercup doing her hair, or fifteen chapters to the politics and common-laws of both Gilder and Floren, all of which he (Goldman) finds too infuriating to the American reader.
I mentioned that Goldman also wrote the screenplay for the movie...and he is no slouch...he holds on his belt, notches for screenplay credit for quite a few classics, including, but not limited to; Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Chaplin, Marathon Man (which he also wrote the novel), Misery...you get the picture.
The Princess Bride, written by S. Morgenstern, abridged by William Goldman is a must read for any person...young or old, rich or poor, man or woman...it is designed to be shared with loved ones, and for that, it is designed perfectly.
-My two pennies