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I am a big fan of The Princess Bride--it's been one of my family's favorite movies since we first watched it about 20 years ago. So, when I heard there was going to be a book about the making of the movie, I knew I had to read it.

Let me start with what I loved about this book.
I loved reading the anecdotes of things that happened on-set and learning details about what was going on before and after (and sometimes during) some of the most memorable scenes of the movie.

I loved that it wasn't just Cary Elwes' perspective but that there were snippets from others in the cast and crew interspersed throughout the book.

I loved hearing about what each actor was like off screen and how well everyone got on.

I loved the pictures, though I wish there were more "behind the scenes" shots rather than pics that looked like screenshots of the movie or were just the cast posing.

Okay, now for what I didn't love. Honestly, if I had to sum this book up in one word it would be "gushy."

Elwes makes it abundantly clear how much he admires Rob Reiner, William Goldman, et al. by sounding like an over-excited fanboy. I was barely a chapter in when I already wanted to shout at the book "WE KNOW! GET ON WITH IT!" but I carried on (Caryed on?) and hoped that it was just the intro of each cast/crew member that would be filled with gushing protestations of how amazing and talented he or she was. Alas, it was not to be. If you were to go through this book and cut out all but the initial praise of each person, I have no doubt that it would be 1/3 shorter. (taking out the phrase "just the nicest person you'd ever want to meet" alone would probably cut out a full page of the book)

It was a bit of a frustrating read in this respect, because I got the feeling from the writing that Cary Elwes genuinely admires the rest of the cast, loves their work, and is an all around humble guy--but I don't think it came off the way he intended.

The writing, in fact, was all around bad. The beginning chapters have tons of wooden recreated dialogue, and readers are walked through every.step.of.every.action. Lines like "I thanked him and bid him good night before hanging up." are just not necessary.

Then there was the the repetition. Not just the repetition of each person's praises, but of facts, feelings, and even events. It really does surprise me that the book was not developed and edited more professionally. Cary Elwes is an actor, not a writer, and that's fine--but he co-wrote the book with someone who IS a writer, and presumably they also had a separate editor. Did neither Joe Layden nor the editor realize that the writing was so repetitive and mediocre and the tone was so fawning?

I don't want to be too down on the book, because I love The Princess Bride and Cary Elwes, but I get so disappointed when something that could have been SO great ends up just being okay.

When I looked up other reviews on Amazon and Goodreads I saw most of the reviews are 4-5 stars (clearly they weren't rating the editing of the book) but I also noticed that a lot of the reviewers had listened to the audio book read by Cary Elwes. That might have made a difference in the tone and even the annoyance of the repetition but as a print book it came off as  mostly dead.

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