Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

This week’s review is of the new book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.

For new and old fans alike, there has been great excitement over this book. It tells the story of the production of The Princess Bride, brought to us by Cary Elwes with the help of Joe Layden.

This is a real treasure for fans in particular. Elwes’ “behind the scenes” approach tells of how this iconic movie almost didn’t make it. It’s incredible, considering the difficulty with the studio politics and the stars’ personal demons, that the movie proved to be such a success. As someone very interested in media production in general, I found Elwes’ coverage of the events very compelling.

Admittedly, Elwes is NOT an author by trade, and it shows. There are a number of frustrating grammatical errors and he frequently ends stories with, “More about that later.” While I think the intent was to make the writing feel more conversational, it instead feels jilted, jarring and ill conceived. The first third of the book feels a bit tedious, but once the filming gets started, the story really begins to pick up in earnest.

The cast reunited.

The later half of the book has the first hand account that fans long for though. It has all of the tantalizing stories of what it was like to be a star, amongst all these other stars, making a sweeping and delightful epic movie. There are plenty of great anecdotes and sidebars from director Rob Reiner and the actors in the piece too. This additional input gives the story a fun “peanut gallery” effect and I appreciated those additions. Overall, I would recommend anyone who loves the tale of Dread Pirate Roberts and Princess Buttercup to pick up a copy. It’s fun, easy to read and it satisfies that ever-present longing fans have for more of what they love.
– E.B.

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