Book Review: As You Wish by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

21412202The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years! (synopsis from Goodreads)

Rating: 10/10

I was so excited when this came out, and since I’m lucky enough to live in Portland, I managed to get my hands on a signed copy of this book and see him speak at Powell’s. This movie is one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time so getting this book was one of the best present I could possibly have gotten.

Like so many, I was gifted this movie by a family member. In my case it was my grandmother. She gave me the VHS for Christmas. However, unlike so many, I didn’t enjoy it the first time I saw it. It wasn’t until high school when a friend of mine insisted that I watch it again, and so we watched it together. And I fell in love. How did I not like this movie before? It was so charming, funny, and well-written! And how dreamy is Westley!?

So while my fandom of this movie started a little later, it burns bright within me now. Whenever I’ve had a particularly bad day, I feel the urge to watch this movie and escape into this enchanting world that William Goldman created. More often than not, it helps. I highly recommend this movie as therapy. You can’t help but laugh at the antics of Miracle Max and his wife, Valerie. Or rhyme along with Fezzik when he asks if anyone wants a peanut.

For anybody who is a fan of this movie, this book is a delight to read. There are so many stories from this set, and it was fascinating to read about how this movie got started, and how it almost didn’t start at all. (Imagine a world without The Princess Bride! Inconceivable!)

It’s so wonderful to read about how much work these actors put in to this project, and how proud they are of the work they did. Knowing some of the antics that happened behind the scenes makes watching the movie even more fun. And I was also super happy to finally know why Westley was limping during a couple scenes of the movie. So many questions answered!

I would consider this book essential for anyone who is a fan of this movie. You get to read about just how hard Billy Crystal made everyone laugh on set, and how much time was spent on perfecting the best sword fight ever. Why would you not want to know all this?  On top of this, the book is well-written and addictive to read. I ended up reading it a a couple of sittings. Such a great read! I highly recommend it.

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