There is nothing more satisfying to me than sitting down in the golden sand at Long Nook Beach on Cape Cod, and partaking in some light summer reading before I run off to splash around in the Atlantic. However, when I picked up this book this summer, I found that I absolutely had to finish it before I put it down. I'm talking about The Princess Bride by William Goldman.
It is one of the all-time great adventure novels.
The book tells the story of Wesley, a young farm boy who falls in love with Buttercup, the farmer's daughter. He goes off to seek his fortune in America. And when news comes back that he has been killed, the daughter is devastated. However, the book can't end there, so of course it turns out that he is alive.
Wesley comes back after many years, in the guise of the man who "killed" him, and is reunited with his love, while saving her from kidnappers. After he rescues her, they are unfortunately separated again and are both thrown into the middle of a plot to bring the kingdom to war, planned by the most unlikely of people.
Uniting with the very people who kidnapped Buttercup in the first place, Wesley attempts to rescue his true love - and foil the villain's plan in the process.
This book is one of my favorites for a few reasons. It is the quintessential adventure story. A young man falls in love with the woman of his dreams, then must save her from an evil villain, hopefully so that they can ride off into the sunset. The author masters the genre so well that you find yourself pulled into the story just as you were in your toddler years when your parents read you stories of heroes and heroines.
However, another thing that I really liked about this book is that it isn't as simple as the stories your parents read you. The author weaves a complex and engaging story, with witty, interesting characters who suck you into the tale just as much as the friendly, familiar, story type.
Finally, in between chapters of the book, and at the beginning and end, Goldman throws in his own narration to create a humorous and pleasantly distracting side story. All of these reasons and more combine to make The Princess Bride a truly memorable book.
I would give The Princess Bride a 9.5 out of 10. Goldman uses his ability as a screenwriter ("Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid" is one of his works) to create a story that uses such vivid imagery that it's almost as if you're watching the book play out on the silver screen. His characters become familiar as you progress through the book, and you start to worry for them as they maneuver the twists and turns that Goldman inserts to keep the story unpredictable and interesting. Whether The Princess Bride is completely new to you or you've seen the movie since it came out 20 years ago, this book is definitely worth reading. I encourage everyone who enjoys engaging adventure novels to pick it up.