August 23, 2015

Review: The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

* This review may contain spoilers, please proceed with caution... *

I am probably the one and only who did not like this book, and NOT because it had been boring or worse than the film. I haven't seen the film yet and I'm not sure I want to. I read the 2013 edition with the two lengthy introductions, and even though I couldn't wait for the real story to begin, I quite enjoyed the introductions and Goldman's satire/humour. Once the story began, I grow very fond of Inigo and Fezzik, although I didn't really care for Buttercup, the heroine, who is an empty-headed Barbie doll. (I have yet to find a male writer who is able to write a strong female character, all of my favourite female characters were penned by women...) Still, up until page 247 I rather enjoyed the book, though there were some disturbing moments, such as the death of a character who wasn't a really bad villain, just a petty criminal. I didn't understand why it was necessary to kill him off. But back to page 247, which is when all the torture began. I DID NOT enjoy it and it came as a shock that in the middle of a "fairy tale" I had to read very detailed descriptions of such a cruel torture. Up until a certain point I was able to continue reading, but when a completely innocent dog was tortured to death in order to test a torture machine, I gave up. I DID not read the scene how the machine was used for torturing the human being. The rest of the book I just skimmed, so as to find out how this awful story ends. Regrettably, even the ending was just as bad, because there was no real happy ending, but what is more, one of the major villains hasn't even been punished!!! After that, I had no interest whatsoever to read the first part of the planned sequel "Buttercup's Baby", especially as its title is "Fezzik Dies". No need to read that. William Goldman may be a wonderful writer, but he has definitely no idea about the genre FAIRY TALE. He keeps repeating that "life is not fair" and that's reason enough to kill off innocent people and animals. He is of course right, life isn't fair, and if I had wanted to read a book on the Holocaust, Kosovo, or Rwanda, I wouldn't have been surprised by the torture. But for goodness sake, I was reading a book which had been characterised by the New York Times as a "funny fairy tale" (see dust jacket)! According to "My Encyclopaedia of Fairy Tales", fairy tales have at least three defining features, namely: (1) Happy Ending, (2) Good Conquering Evil, and (3) Suitable for Children to read. Goldman failed all of these, I'm afraid. I would never ever give this book to a child, because of the cruelty to animals/people it depicts. The whole concept of the Zoo of Death is awful and out of place in a fairy tale for children. Even though I'm an adult and regularly watch TV series containing cruel scenes, such as the CSI, upon reading this book, I will have some nightmares I'm sure. Imagine what a child would feel! As I've mentioned, I haven't watched the film yet, and lots of people say it's better than the book. I can only hope that the torture scenes are less naturalistic on the screen...

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