I know I’m not alone in stating that The Princess Bride is my favorite movie. I was probably five or six when I watched it for the first time (thanks, Dad) and have seen it countless times since. I have it mostly memorized, and still harbor a small crush on 1987-era Cary Elwes.
However, I was doing a disservice to myself. I had not read William Goldman’s incredible book until very recently. Shortly before the holidays, I caught that a friend had added it as a “to-read” on Goodreads and I impulsively commented, “Hey, I haven’t read this either. Want to do a read along before they take our nerd cards away?” Bless his heart, he said yes. We worked out a loose schedule of about 100 pages a week, then commented back and forth about the things we were fawning over. I recommend this method wholeheartedly – accountability and camaraderie! As two reformed English majors, we both loved the meta-asides as a plot device. Goldman makes it easy to buy into the framework of him adapting the story to just the ‘good parts’ of a classic tale from the far-off country of Florin.
Of course, the book has paired nicely with picking my way through As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride. Which could also be subtitled: Andre the Giant is the Best. Elwes details his experiences with the movie, from his own casting, the work he and Mandy Patinkin put into practicing the sword fighting scene, and the only injury on set – Patinkin bruised his ribs trying not to laugh at Billy Crystal’s Miracle Max. The cast and director Rob Reiner contributed their own stories to the book, so it’s a lovely collaboration from a group that still clearly takes pride in this project, over 28 years later.
– Jess, who reminds you to never get involved in a land war in Asia