I went to Barnes and Noble alone on Saturday. When I go with Mike, I always feel rushed, so I told him that I was going to go the bookstore without him while he slept Saturday morning. He didn’t worry where I was and I didn’t feel like I didn’t have enough time to see all that I wanted to see at the store.
Ok, that’s a lie. I still felt like I didn’t have enough time to see all that I wanted to see at Barnes and Noble. I don’t think I will ever get that feeling of being literarily satiated. Unless I could walk into the store and read every single book that I had a passing interest in before for leaving, I doubt I would have that feeling. I should quit blaming my feelings of being rushed on Mike. It’s not his fault that I cannot consume the entire bookstore in one sitting.
I spent over an hour doing one thing at Barnes and Noble. I sat on a hard wooden chair and read the new introduction to The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It was the 30th Anniversary Edition and it was sitting in the bestsellers section at the front. I didn’t even get to the discount books section this time. I was accosted by a book that I already own.
I read The Princess Bride after seeing the movie and was amazed at how closely they matched. It was one of those rare occasions when the book didn’t ruin the movie for me. They were both perfect and beautiful in their own right. What was even better than seeing the movie was reading William Goldman’s description of the effort of abridging the original manuscript by <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />
After reading the 30th and 25th Anniversary Introductions, I started to question myself. Maybe S. Morgenstern wasn’t imaginary. Maybe
After an hour of reading the new introductions to The Princess Bride, I wanted to believe so badly. Mike called me on my cell, wondering if I was ever going to come home (for the record, I might have forgotten to come home until I had finished reading all the books in the store, so it was a good thing that he called).
“Mike, I need to you come here and bring the Barnes and Noble card because I’m going to buy a book and I want to get the discount.”
“What are you buying?”
“It’s the 30th Anniversary Edition of The Princess Bride. I know that we already have it, but this one has all this interesting stuff about
“No, Florin is now some part of
I could feel the illusion leaving me. Did William Goldman actually say that Florin was in
“No, Mike. I’m telling you. It’s real. There really was some old book that is totally long and boring and William Goldman really abridged it and now he’s having legal trouble because of it.”
“No, Laura. It’s all part of the story. There is no such place as
“It didn’t come into the public domain until 1987.”
“That would mean the book was written in 1902. That’s a little late for a true tale of medieval history.”
I could feel the truth wash over me. There is no
“I want it to be true.”
“That doesn’t make it true.”
I thought about Andre the Giant placing his hand in Fezzik’s finger mold. I had felt such joy thinking that the sweet man had found a cohort from the past whose hands were bigger than his. It was all gone.
“I still want it to be true. I’m going to buy this book.”
“Ok, I’ll be right over.”
If you haven’t read the two new introductions to The Princess Bride, you must read them. If you don’t own the book, buy it now. If you do own the book, go buy the 30th Anniversary Edition anyway. The mark of a brilliant writer is the ability to transport the reader into another reality. I was taken to a world where revenge really was sweet. I was taken to a world where the hero really saved the damsel. I was taken to a world where all of it and more was true and documented. There was a museum that displayed the sword and the life-sucking machine. Maybe it seemed so real because there were blood-sucking lawyers in that world.
The final nail in the coffin of the fantasy came to me Sunday night. I was still clinging to the desperate hope that maybe it was all real. I was going to write this entry leaving that question open to debate, but Mike insisted that I try to find
“See, here’s a
“Go to the website.”
When I went there, I found that it was a Russian IT company. I tried The Morgenstern Museum and found one in Germany, but a translation of the website proved that it was merely about shipbuilding. The final nail came when I searched using the phrase, “Buttercup’s Baby.” Toward the end of the first page was a frequently asked questions site on Stephen King’s website. The question at hand was, “In the Princess Bride it says you’re going to write the abridgement for Buttercup’s Baby. Is that true?”
In simple and plain words, my final illusion fell from me. Stephen King wrote, “No, it’s not true. That’s a little joke from Bill Goldman who’s an old friend. I admired his books before I ever met him and as a kind of return tip of the cap, he put me in that book The Princess Bride. But actually I think that that particular baby, Buttercup’s Baby, is Bill Goldman’s and if there’s ever going to be a story about Buttercup, Bill will have to write it.”
We are both men of action. Lies do not become us. - William Goldman, The Princess Bride, 1973
So, there is the truth. For approximately 37 hours, I held the hope that it was all true in my heart. I’m buying Buttercup’s Baby as soon as it comes out. Get cracking, Bill. Don’t you dare kill Fezzik. We’ve already lost Andre. I can’t bear to lose another giant.