Book vs Movie: The Princess Bride

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“…I really do think that love is the best thing in the world except for cough drops. But I also have to say that life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”

I’ve spent a good portion of my life avoiding the book The Princess Bride.
Rob Reiner’s film adaptation of the William Goldman novel is amazing. It’s one of my favourite movies, and I’ve always been happy to leave The Princess Bride as that perfect movie in my mind, especially since I’ve heard the book is nowhere near as good as the movie.
But this week I decided to stop being a baby. After all, how can I call myself a bibliophile if I don’t read ALL THE BOOKS?
So I loaded the audiobook (narrated by Rob Reiner, a great choice) onto my iPhone and started listening. After the first few minutes I was completely hooked. And a couple of hours later, I heard the final lines (quoted above) and felt relieved and kind of silly all at once. Why did I put this off for so long? The Princess Bride is a great book. In fact, I liked it as much as I like the movie.

Inconceivable, I know.

There are, of course, plenty of differences between the two (see a comprehensive list here), but the only one that I think matters is the way the story is told to us. We all know (and if you don’t you should) that in the movie, a grandfather reads the story to his grandson who is home sick. In the book, however, William Goldman presents The Princess Bride to us as though it is his favourite childhood book written by S. Morgenstern (a book that doesn’t exist, FYI). Because he’s giving us his abridged version, you hear the story from the point of view of both Goldman and Morgenstern, something that I gather a lot of people don’t like. But I actually enjoyed it. There was a certain playfulness to it that I think the movie also has, just in a different way.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really liked reading The Princess Bride, much more than I thought I would. Both the book and the film are worth your time, proving that sometimes a good story is a good story no matter how it’s told.

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