This was such a delightful experience. Nonfiction isn’t anywhere near by genre of choice, but The Princess Bride is among my favorite movies of all time, so I decided to give it a go. Also, Cary Elwes is an absolute treasure. But even the fact that the book was the backstory of one of my favorite movies as told by its lead actor wasn’t enough to entice me into buying a copy of this book. Until I came across the audio version. Let me tell you, I jumped right on that, especially once I learned that Carey Elwes himself, along with the majority of his Princess Bride co-stars and those who were involved with filming, directing, writing, and producing the movie, narrated the audio. Getting to hear these people, whose work together has been delighting countless viewers for over 30 years, talk about their experience with the movie was a wonderful experience. It just made me appreciate even more this movie that has been so special to me for nearly half of my life. So many lines from this story have worked their way into my family’s vocabulary and, while that is in large part due to the brilliance of Goldman’s writing, the voices in which we heard them spoken are what have kept them in our heads for well over a decade.
In recent years I’ve come to really appreciate what audiobooks bring to the table. I strongly disagree with those who don’t consider audiobook consumption to be truly “reading,” as studies have shown the the exact same portions of the brain are being stimulated by visually reading or listening to a story. (That being said, I also firmly disagree with those who listen to a dozen or more books a week at the highest speed possible, resulting in chipmunk-esque background noise. I don’t see how on earth anyone could properly connect with a story in that way, but that’s just my personal opinion.) Audiobooks have become among my most constant companions, accompanying me on long walks and long drives and long bouts of household chores.
I’ve experienced some truly wonderful stories through this medium, and Elwes’s story behind The Princess Bride is among those. First of all, hearing anything as told by its author is always a fantastic experience, especially if they happen to have a nice speaking voice. Elwes, who has made his living off of his voice and face, was a pleasure to listen to. And he wasn’t alone. Getting to hear from Billy Crystal and Robin Wright, Rob Reiner and many more, was equally wonderful. I loved hearing how much everyone loved their involvement in this movie and knew it was special long before it gained it loyal following. I also loved that everyone involved in the making of the movie seemed so genuinely fond of one another and that, for the most part, filming this movie was a wonderful experience for them and still serves as one of the highlights of their careers.
One of the most unexpected aspects of this book was how much everyone raved about Andre the Giant, one of the few cast members who had passed on before the writing of this book. While I had always found his character sweet and delightful, I knew little about him outside of his role as Fezzik. Hearing about how much everyone loved him was just so sweet. Throughout the entire audiobook, I was captivated by how much everyone loved and respected each other, and how deeply they all loved the story they were telling.
If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, you really need to give this book a read. And I wholeheartedly recommend doing so through audio, as the story was far more impactful in my opinion whey voiced by those who lived it. If you haven’t seen The Princess Bride, I’m begging you to give it a shot. It’s beloved for a reason. Everything about As You Wish made my heart happy. Now excuse me while I go rewatch the movie was the hundredth time.
Have fun storming the castle!