Book Review – The Princess Bride

Book: The Princess Bride

Author:William Goldman

I have a friend who reads vicariously through me. English is his fourth language and he says he is not exactly comfortable reading large books. Instead, he watches movies and hilariously reviews them for his friends and coworkers. We get a new review each week and was one of my inspirations to begin blogging my book reviews. He took my recommendation to watch all the Harry Potter movies. Once he would finish one movie, he would ask me dozens of questions about the world, plot, characters, places, etc. We talked for hours about Harry Potter. So, in return, I agreed to read/review The Princess Bride (in addition to watching The Hobbit trilogy of movies). This review is dedicated to you, R.

It is inconceivable to me that anyone has not read this book or at least watched the movie at least a dozen times. The Princess Bride is a classic and a masterpiece. Westley and Buttercup are one of my favorite literary couples I’ve read. Yes, yes. I know. I KNOW. There are so many other marvelous couple to read about throughout literature. Sue me. I am a product of the 80s and love me some Westley and Buttercup.

Side bar: I am interested to know who are your favorite literary couple. Let me know in the comments!

Back to the review aka the reason you are reading this post. The story begins with a sick little boy and his grandfather’s idea to read him a story: The Princess Bride! We first meet Westley when he is a farmhand (“Farm boy” – You all said that in your head in Robin Wright’s voice. Don’t even bother denying it. I won’t believe you.) on Buttercup’s parents’ estate. When he and Buttercup fall in love (“As you wish” is still one of my favorite ways I’ve read to convey “I love you”), they must overcome incredible obstacles to be together (death, pirates, kidnap, Mawage, sword fights, torture, and the most odious of princes Prince Humperdink).

One of my all-time favorite quotes is when Vizzini says, “He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable!” And Inigo Montoya (Hello! My Name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.) says (and this is my favorite part), “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The banter between characters throughout the whole book is superb and, for me, set the bar in a lot of ways in my young and impressionable mind. It is witty and contains some of the most used and loved quotes of my generation. This story is fun and funny. A complete trip with a cast of characters that get into your head and stay there.

PS. Do you ever think “I love you” is an over-used phrase? It is rare for me to find a romance which doesn’t use “I love you” at all (like The Princess Bride). To date, I’ve read two. In a romance story, I want to read about love conquering all because in the real world it so often doesn’t. Reading stories, I am infatuated with the process which the characters get to the “I love yous”. I want to see how they conquer the world against all odds to get to the “I love yous”. How do they get there? What obstacles must be overcome? What plot twists and character flaws must they conquer? Are they good obstacles or ones only placed in front of them for the sake of drawing it out? Are there gasp-worthy moments and ones I didn’t see coming? These are the things that make a good romance story to me. I grow weary of characters using “I love you” as a blanket which is why a story like The Princess Bride is so refreshing. The use of “As you wish” in its place is adorable and still causes females I know to grow gooey in the knees.

If you liked The Princess Bride, you might like:

Color of Magic

Bite Me

Good Omens

Storm Front

Hounded

Book Review – My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

Book: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

Author: Fredrick Backman

This review is subtitled: An Ode to the Bat Aka My Grandmother.

My grandmother is my absolute favorite person in the world. Sorry, mom (I know you found and read my blog). She is hilarious, unintentionally for the most part. She is caring and supportive. I still receive cards in the mail on a regular basis (sometimes with money in them!) from her. She drives like a bat out of H-E-double hockey sticks. I can’t imagine what my life will look like without her in it. But I suppose that is the prerogative of the grandchild.

When I was young, she told me a dragon lived in her basement and told my brother and I if we ever went down there, the dragon would eat us. She used to cut up apples and throw them (and Cheerios – always Cheerios) down the basement stairs saying, “Eat dragon and be gone! Don’t eat my grandchildren!” My brother and I found out later our uncle was living in her basement at the time and she didn’t want us to see anything little eyes shouldn’t see.

So, that is  my rambling wind-up to saying I LOVED this story. It is about an almost 8-year-old little girl named Elsa who is extraordinarily precocious.  Elsa is smart and mature for her age. She is best friends with her Granny who is an absolute RIOT. Granny smokes, drinks, plays pranks, gets up to mischief, and protects her granddaughter. My grandmother doesn’t smoke or drink, but she does play pranks, is generally mischievous and is protective of her grandchildren.

Being too smart and mature for her age, Elsa is bullied by the kids at school. Only Granny knows the truth and constructs an imaginary world for Elsa to escape her pain and bullies. She goes to her  imaginary world and there she is bold and brave and no one hurts her. Elsa is a knight and protects others in her imaginary world.

But when Granny dies (serious sob here), Elsa starts learning things about her Granny and the imaginary world she constructed. Granny sends her on a journey in the real world delivering messages of apologies to people she hurt in her life. Along the way, Elsa learns about who her Granny was and gains some friends along the way.

This story was precious and moving in a way I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to like this story as well as I did. I connected with Elsa and her Granny in a surprising way. Her mother as well.

Some of the parts that made me laugh out loud:

  • When Elsa was sent to the headmaster’s office because a boy gave her a black eye, the headmaster told Granny Elsa provoked the boy who has trouble “controlling himself”. Granny threw something at the headmaster and said, “I WAS PROVOKED! I COULDN’T CONTROL MYSELF!”.
  • Muggles. Actually, all of the Harry Potter references. There were so many good ones.
  • The time Granny set off fireworks inside a restaurant and set a girl on fire.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry was heartfelt, poignant and funny. If you like a good story of a hilarious, brave, protective and imaginative woman, give this one a try.

If you liked My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, you might like:

A Man Called Ove

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potatoe Pie Society

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Ocean and the End of the Lane

Book Review – This is Where I Leave You

Book: This is Where I Leave You

Author: Jonathan Young

I am going to be real with you: I did NOT care for this book. With that in mind, this post will be short and not-so-sweet.

This book was needlessly graphic, unfunny, and left me uncaring. Why is it listed as humor? I laughed maybe once during this book.

It took me forever (for me, anyway) to get through this book. Young’s writing was unexpectedly graphic in places and felt contrived and gratuitous. I suppose they were there (in the beginning) to help you empathize with the main character, but I found I did not care. I could not get on board with this story of a family sitting Shiva for their patriarch (who was the father of the main character). Don’t get me wrong: my siblings and I are all adults (well…the youngest isn’t yet 21. Does 20 count as an actual adult?) and driving their big sister crazy feels to me like it’s still a full-time job for them. At a high level, from the perspective of the sibling relationships, I related. But the level of crazy of and between the siblings and the mother was…scary.

I even watched the movie to see if it was any better, but it wasn’t really. This surprised me because it had some funny people in it (Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, etc.). The best part was probably when the sister punched a guy in defense of her brother. As a big sister, I can tell you that if you mess with my brothers I will turn from sweet, nice woman into full momma bear mode in seconds. Other than that one part, the movie was as forgettable as the book.

Not recommending this book to you is the best thing I could possibly do. Don’t read this book. If you need a recommendation, let me know. I can recommend a humorous book much better than this one. Mindy Kaling’s writing and humor are much more on my level and I would recommend her books over This is Where I Leave You any day.

If you disliked this book like me, try:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Bossypants

Yes Please

Scrappy Little Nobody

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened