One Universally Pleasing “Bride”


Bailey Cross writes, “The Princess Bride: S.

“The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure,” abridged by William Goldman, could quiet possibly be one of the few books ever written that appeals to everyone; young and old, girl or boy, romance lover or sports enthusiast. Goldman opens the abridged version by explaining how he first came across what was soon to become his favorite book as a child. Ten years old and stuck in bed with pneumonia, his immigrant father started reading to him. The elder Goldman summed “The Princess Bride” up best by answering the question “Does it have any sports?” with, “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Passion. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truth. Miracles.” Indeed, it has all of those things and more.From the first five words to the last five, “The Princess Bride” keeps the reader hooked. Meet Buttercup, a poor milkmaid who just so happens to make the list of one of the top ten most beautiful women in the world, although she despises taking care of her appearance. All day, she rides her horse, appropriately named “Horse” and orders the farm boy, Wesley, around. Within the first chapter, they fall completely, blissfully in love. That is until Wesley leaves for America to find fortune to bring back to his beloved Buttercup and is murdered by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Upon hearing of his death, Buttercup vows that she will “never love again.”Here’s where the story really starts to pick up. Meet Prince Humperdink, a barrel-like man who, upon hearing of the king’s deteriorating state of health only replies, “Drat! That means that I shall have to marry.” The bride to be? Buttercup of course. The couple has an understanding. Buttercup will never love Humperdink, and he will not ask for her love. Buttercup is taken to the palace where she is trained in all things royal. The only joy she finds that she gets out of life now is riding Horse.On one of her daily rides, she is kidnapped by three men; one a kindhearted giant who is all bronze and no brains, one a Spaniard whose life mission is to revenge his father’s death, and one a Sicilian who is self-professed the “slickest, sleekest, sliest, and wiliest fellow who has yet come down the pike.” What follows next is a journey full of “IN-CON-CEIVABLE!” ‘s, sharks, sword fights, fireswamps, and ROUS’s (Rats of Unusual Size). There’s Cliffs of Insanity, a mysterious man in black, and a battle of wits and poison. It is shown that true love does not conquer all. Torture becomes an effective weapon. Albinos come in handy. Bringing the dead back to life now only requires a golf-ball size pill, some chocolate and sixty-five gold pieces. And, most importantly, practicing your signature line (“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”) comes in handy.As a book that holds a dear place in my heart, “The Princess Bride” makes me laugh. Whether it’s the skillfully crafted banter that the author tucks between the covers with guile, or placing events alongside the invention of stew, taxes, ulcers, mirrors, and Europe, Morgenstern’s cleverness is sure to appeal to you. Morgenstern’s prose has the perfect balance of humor and tragedy. I will admit that there were several times that my eyes were, as S. Morgenstern once put it, “not completely dry.” For instance, as Wesley and Buttercup’s love unfolds before your very eyes and then is crushed a moment later, or your favorite, brave, mischievous, passionate character dies, a girl can’t help but shed a few tears.Next time you feel yourself down in the dumps, want an adventure to read by the poolside, or just want an escape from reality, feel free to let your mind wander into “The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure.””The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure”Abridged by William GoldmanHarcourt BooksOctober, 2007$15 (soft cover)