Wednesday, December 30, 2015

loopyker's #CBR7 Review #08: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride audiobook cover
"IF YOU ENJOYED THE MOVIE, YOU'LL CERTAINLY ENJOY LISTENING TO ROB REINER, THE MOVIE'S DIRECTOR, READ THE BOOK."  was what the online library listing promised me.  They even shouted it.  They couldn't have been more wrong.

I would like to be really clear about this.  I don't want to get yelled at.  This is a review for the audiobook.  Very different from the movie.  I love the movie.  It became an instant favourite when I saw it over 20 years ago.  I've enjoyed it many times since.

I also read the book many years ago.  It was disappointing.  Some of my favourite lines from the movie are not in the book. But, there is more back-story detail added which can be entertaining.  If there wasn't the comparison, I would probably have thought it was a good book.  But, I would wonder what the big deal was with the fans of the movie, if I went only by that.

So, with this in mind, I already had lower expectations for the audiobook.  But Rob Reiner directed this popular movie.  Surely he must know how to read it well.  No, no he does not.  Which is ironic.  The story starts as someone reading the book to a sick boy.  Peter Falk does this well in the movie.

In the movie the boy rolls his eyes at the idea of being read a fairy-tale type book.  But, as fans of the movie know, even though on the surface it has romance and a princess (to-be) and a prince, this is a story for any age and any gender.  There are heroic challenges and fights, good versus evil and "true-love" with a little magic thrown in and mostly, with a lot of humour for both young and old.  It is just a lot of fun.

However, you would not know it by the way Rob Reiner reads it.  He rushes through much of it like he has something else to do and just wants to get this over with fast.    It is so rushed it can be hard to follow even who is talking without the appropriate pauses or even subtle voice differences.

A huge disappointment.  This is one of the few times where, without a doubt, I recommend the movie over the book.  And with even less reservations, I recommend both over the audiobook.  Don't bother with the audiobook.  Anyone who just listens to that will miss what the fans like in the others.

1 star for the audiobook
3 stars for the book
5 stars for the movie

Title: The Princess Bride (audiobook)
Author: William Goldman
Narrator: Rob Reiner  (movie's director)
Publisher: Phoenix Books, Inc. (Feb 06, 2007)
Duration: 2 hours, 32 minutes

Other formats: paperback/Kindle ebook
Print Length: 480 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (October 8, 2007)
(original published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (USA) 1973)
ISBN-10: 0156035154
ISBN-13: 978-0156035156

Note: A lot of formats say "abridged".  This is part of the joke, that William Goldman says he is abridging another book.  It makes it confusing to know if there is a real abridged version of William Goldman's work.

Rating system:
1 star (didn't like); 2 stars (OK); 3 stars (good); 4 stars (very good); 5 stars (favourite)
Also check out Cannonball Read for a variety of book reviews from many others.

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