Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stories, rediscovered

For my anniversary a few weeks ago my husband bought me the 35th Anniversary edition of The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and we have been reading it together several times a week--well, he reads it to me. He insists. It's just something we do. In any case, it's the first time either of us have read the book. My father used to boast of its greatness, of course, because my family adored the movie and I had lines memorized at the tender age of six before I even realized that Westley falling down into the ravine was tragically romantic and not actually slapstick comedy. My father also used to groan about having loaned the book out to someone and they never returned it, so I never had the opportunity to read it. (In addition, I remember seeing the cover once very briefly, and flipped through it, but upon seeing the word "bitch" I thought it wasn't appropriate to read. Ha.)

We're nearly done reading it now, we're in the midst of the epilogue, and I will be very sad to see it end. The book is vastly different than the movie, and vastly more enjoyable. That's not to say the movie is bad--it's not. However, the book includes so much more depth and comedy than the movie. I haven't laughed this hard at a novel in quite a long time. The characters, especially Inigo and Fezzik, are layered with personality quirks and mannerisms that are barely glimpsed in the movie, if seen at all. They are real people, suddenly. Westley is not just a farm boy, or just a pirate, but a tortured soul. Fezzik is not just a giant but an orphan, a fighter, a beloved friend. Humperdinck is less of a bumbling fool out to kill his bride and more of a conniving sportsman with a taste for blood and subterfuge.

I would give you more details, but I can't seem to type out the words. There has been something truly spectacular and heartwarming about reading the book and discovering new aspects of each person, each scene. It's something I want everyone else to discover themselves.

With all that in mind, I have also rediscovered another story: Mary Poppins. Little did I know, there is a delightful story about how the movie came to be. I've always wanted to read the books, I've never had the chance, but I'll have to fix that soon. For you see, there's a movie coming out in December. It's about the story behind the story. It has some of my favorite people in it (Tom Hanks, Emma Thomspon) but I don't want to steal Disney's thunder so you can read all about it on their blog here. (Click the link! Do it!)

I hope you all watch the trailer on their blog, and I also hope you go out and buy yourself a copy of The Princess Bride. Please remember, it's by William Goldman. Don't try to look for S. Morganstern. If you've read the book, you understand. If you don't understand, you just need to read the book. $9 at your local Barnes & Noble.