As you wish.

When I was a freshman in high school, my favorite movie was The Princess Bride. And one day when I was hanging out in the school library (as nerds do), I came across a copy of the book by William Goldman. I checked it out and read it. Not long after, I checked it out again. And read it again. I did that several times until I bought my own copy. At Waldenbooks. In the mall. (It was the 90s.)

If you have only seen the movie, you are missing out. The book is hilarious – it is the “good parts” version “abridged from the classic tale by S. Morgenstern.” Which is to say, William Goldman is a very funny man with a great imagination. He is constantly telling you how glad you should be about the boring parts he “left out.” He tells you about them so much that you kind of want to read exactly how someone packing lots of hats could possibly be satire. He tells you entirely too much about his wife and his overweight son. And the commentary throughout (similar to Grandpa in the movie) is what makes the book pure laugh-out-loud magic.

Of course, the first time I read it, I wasn’t sure if there was really an S. Morgenstern. I was 14. And this was before the internet had been invented. Years later, one of the first things I ever Googled (actually, I didn’t Google it, I AltaVistaed it) was The Princess Bride so that I could be sure that it really was all fake. Of course it’s fake. But I just wasn’t sure. It’s so hard to be sure. He keeps telling us how his dad read the book to him when he was a kid. And he keeps telling us what was left out. And it all seemed so real.

I had hoped to buy the book for my school this year, because I think it would be a great choice for some of my students. But with all the budget woes, that isn’t going to happen. On Wednesday, though, one of my 8th grade students approached me and said that she had read it, and that she really liked it, and she wondered if she could write a test for it (our school uses a reading comprehension program for certain books, but I am always happy to let students write a test for a book they read for which we do not have the test so that they can get credit for it). I swooned, so happy that she had read it. I told her that I’d been wanting to buy it for the school and that it was such a wonderful choice for her. She beamed at me, then looked uncertain and said, “If I am going to write a test for it, do I need to find the unabridged version?”

(And then I died a little bit from the adorableness, but don’t worry, I let her leave with her dignity intact.)

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