A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sharp-edged fairy tale is geared to tweens and older. The cliffhangers are more intense and some scenes are scarier than in the film version. You'll find truly evil villains, murder, swordfights, knives, blood, poisoning, kidnapping, torture, giant carnivorous rats and eels, and similar scary stuff. One character goes on drinking binge that reveals alcohol's destructive nature.
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What's the story?
After learning that her wayward true love, Westley, will never return for her, beautiful, brokenhearted Buttercup agrees to marry entirely undeserving Prince Humperdinck. But before the wedding festivities can commence, Buttercup is kidnapped and whisked away in a boat, her life in the hands of a vicious gang.
Thus begins an edge-of-your-seat adventure involving a six-fingered killer, a royal fiend, a misunderstood giant, a vengeful Spaniard, a retired miracle worker, and the mysterious masked man in black. Toss in a desperate race up the Cliffs of Insanity, wild swordfights, hungry rodents of unusual size, screaming eels, and even more trouble, and it's hard not to believe that the young maiden is doomed.
Will Buttercup survive her increasingly perilous circumstances to find true love again? Rest assured, happiness prevails in the end.
Is it any good?
Goldman's wild ride evokes virtually every emotion possible, and the plot moves so quickly in most parts that readers may need to remind themselves to breathe.
It's impossible to review THE PRINCESS BRIDE without comparing it to the popular film version of the edgy fairy tale. William Goldman wrote both the book and the screenplay, but the more detailed book includes darker, scarier situations.
Two standout differences in the book are Prince Humperdinck's Zoo of Death (where the brutish royal fights caged animals to the death and always wins), and further development of Fezzik and Inigo Montoya through poignant childhood flashbacks. The description of Humperdinck's "hobby" adds a touch of pure evil, and the flashbacks add so much to the story that you'll wish Miracle Max could magically add them to the next edition of the DVD.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their favorite scenes and characters, and how the book differs from the movie. Buttercup and Westley were heroic, but sometimes their pride got in the way -- can you think of scenes when this happened? Did the background on Fezzik's and Inigo's childhoods help explain their thoughts and actions as adults, and if so, how? How did humor add to this book? Would it be a completely different book if the humor was left out, and do you think you'd like it as much?
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