movies

The Princess Bride

You love the movie, right? The book is even better. Well, most of it is…

I’m currently having a minor internal dilemma, dear readers, that I wanted to run past you. The dilemma revolves around my desire to share William Goldman‘s tremendous fairy tale, The Princess Bride, with my six-year-old daughter, and how exactly I should do that. Like a lot of people from my generation, I discovered The Princess Bride thanks to Rob Reiner’s 1987 film adaptation, an epic adaptation that has endured as one of the most rewatchable, quotable, and downright iconic movies of the past thirty years. While I’m still debating when my daughter will be old enough to see the movie, my primary concern is how and when I’m going to read Goldman’s original book to her.

And the operative word in that sentence is “how.” Because, at the moment, I don’t think I want to read her the entire book. I think I only want to read her the “good parts” of The Princess Bride, a statement that anyone who’s read the original book will find funny, ironic, or, at the very least, very, very “meta.”

Now, as a professed “book person”, the idea of selectively reading passages of a book to my daughter feels like a big cheat and a huge violation of the unspoken bond between author and reader – I hate playing backseat editor – but The Princess Bride is a special case. Let me give you some back story…

Even though I adored The Princess Bride movie the first time I saw it in 1987, it never really landed with me that I should seek out the original book that it was based on until I was in college. After a few weeks of hunting, I came across a tattered paperback copy of Goldman‘s The Princess Bride in a used bookstore and quickly devoured it. (It was originally published in 1973 with the eyebrow-raising tagline “A Hot Fairy Tale.”)

What Happens When the Most Beautiful Girl in the World Marries the Handsomest Prince in the World - And He Turns Out to Be a Son-of-a-Bitch?

This might be my favorite back cover copy of all time.

And the book didn’t disappoint. It’s wonderful. When reading the book, you really get an appreciation for how faithful and spot-on Rob Reiner’s adaptation was. Princess Bride the book is INCREDIBLY similar to Princess Bride the movie, right down to the priest mispronouncing “Mawidge” to the now-legendary “Hello, My Name is Inigo Montoya” showdown (which reaches its climax on page 276 of my paperback). While there are little variations in the details here and there, I can only recall two MAJOR differences that stood out when I first read the book. [read the rest of the post…]

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Frequent readers of this blog know that I typically give media tie-in children’s books a lot of flack. And, normally, they totally deserve it. For whatever reason, when a publisher decides to adapt a TV show, movie, cartoon, or toyline into a kids’ book, the quality is almost always poor. There are some notable exceptions – Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader and Son is transcendent – but, for the most part, they’re fairly awful reads. So, when Megan McKnight wrote her great recent post about her “Rules for Parents Buying Books from Book Order Catalogs or School Book Fairs” and she listed “books based on television, movie, or toy characters” as definite DO NOT BUYS, I nodded my head and intoned a hearty “Here, here!”  I fully support parents who try to steer their kids away from that kind of crap.

But then… I was cleaning out my old bedroom at my mom’s house – enough time has now passed that I refer to it as “my mom’s house” instead of “MY house” – and I found the ONLY book that I ever ordered my school book order catalogs that I MADE SURE that I kept well into my adulthood. I bought loads of books from book order catalogs when I was a kid, but there is only ONE book order title that, over 25 years later, still sat proudly on my bookshelf in my childhood bedroom.

What was that book?

A Ghostbusters storybook, copyright 1984, with 12 collector stickers inside.

Ghostbusters

A cherished tome from my childhood – back before “Slimer” even got his nickname and was known only as the “Ugly Little Spud”

That’s right. It was a media tie-in book. [read the rest of the post…]

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