The Princess Bride | S. Morgenstern (Abridgement by William Goldman)

Not just the “good parts”

This abridged edition of Morgenstern's classic1 claims to leave only the “good parts”. And sure, much of it is the “good parts” that we used to reference on the school yard: “Inconceivable!”, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya; you killed my father; prepare to die.” and the Dread Pirate Roberts generally. But, there's also a lot of bad parts.

For example, this book has a weird voyeuristic obsession with bodies that don't fit the norm, mainly fat people and disfigurements. And it's not in a good way like raising awareness that we all have our “flaws.” No, characters are outright shamed for their bodies by the narration and it seems to take delight in ridiculing characters for their appearance.

Except for the main characters Buttercup and Westley. Those two, destined for True Love are the only good looking humans. And for Buttercup that comes at the cost of everything else as she's exceptionally stupid and helpless leading to her having close to no agency in the narrative.

Weirdly, this body shaming and misogyny has also rubbed off on William Goldman, who in his notes is hateful to his wife as well as his fat son just like his hero S. Morgenstern2. His writing style is also suspiciously similar, as he also enjoys (1) these weirdly formatted lists and (2) parentheticals.

In conclusion, I'd recommend the film over this book as it contains most dialogue word for word. It contains all the “good parts,” but overall also less of the bad.


[1] I know, but let's pretend. [2] Shush.

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