Aleteia

So, what are you reading, there, J-P Mauro?

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You could watch the movie, but then you're missing half the story, and great literature, besides

[Aleteia loves books but recognizes that a world busy with social media doesn’t afford many prompts to that old conversation-starter, “Read any good books lately?” So, we’re asking it in this space. Here, Aleteia’s own J-P Mauro, whom we affectionately call our “Millennial Correspondent,” tells us what he is up to, bookwise. – Ed.]

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I’ve never read it. – William Goldman

“With this contradictory sentence William Goldman enters us to a vivid fictional world with almost as many levels as the film Inception,” says J-P Mauro, who is re-reading his favorite novel, The Princess Bride. 

“I read it once a year,” he says.

We asked why — why read the book when it has been turned into a cult classic on the silver screen with many memorable performances? Why not just watch the movie?

“You could get away with it,” Mauro says. “The screenplay dialogue is, after all, taken nearly word for word from Goldman’s original, but I have to say this: If you’ve never read the book, you’ve missed half the story, and it’s what makes this one of the most brilliant novels ever written.”

“You see, aside from the fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, and miracles, Goldman adds a lengthy fictional forward in which he recounts his experiences tracking down and translating The Princess Bride, which he claims was originally a dense historical record of the countries of Florin and Gilder. This prelude, so intricate in design, works to playfully disorient the reader. The only place that Goldman takes credit for the work is on the cover, otherwise he always attributes the story to S. Morgenstern.”

On the 25th anniversary of the film, Goldman added to this fictional introduction, and in a way totally in keeping with the ruse of the Morgenstern narrative. For instance, “Morgenstern has a conversation with Andre and asks him about how he got in character, to which the giant replies ‘I climb zee cliffs.’ He’s referencing the Cliffs of Insanity. Which do not exist.“

“There is a richness to the book that the film couldn’t capture,” Mauro adds. “You learn how Inigo Montoya became a wizard of the blade; you downright cry for Fezzik’s sake as you watch him grapple both with villains and the crippling sense of loneliness that comes from always being the biggest and the strongest, ‘even without exercise.’”

Without spoiling too much, Mauro adds that we may also find ourselves with something in our eyes after reading the additional chapter Goldman added in the 25th anniversary edition, entitled “Buttercup’s Baby.”

“Give the novel a read,” says our Millennial Correspondent. “You won’t be disappointed.”

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