30 Day Book Challenge: Day 23

Today’s topic was NOT DIFFICULT AT ALL.

Because I typically think all romance novels should die in a fire (zomg, don’t even ask about the horrible die in a fire search I made the other night, I don’t want to talk about it AT ALL), I knew there was only one book I love that could even conceivably (HA!) be considered a romance.

Only one.  Like Highlander, but better (and without Clancy Brown, who my husband for YEARS thought was Tim Roth, but that’s another story and shall be told at another time).

Favourite Romance Novel

“I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now than when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, or if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do. I know I cannot compete with the Countess in skills or wisdom or appeal, and I saw the way she looked at you. And I saw the way you looked at her. But remember, please, that she is old and has other interests, while I am seventeen and for me there is only you. Dearest Westley—I’ve never called you that before, have I?—Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley—darling Westley, adored Westley, sweet perfect Westley, whisper that I have a chance to win your love.”

And with that, she dared the bravest thing she’d ever done: she looked right into his eyes.

I know I’ve talked and talked about how I don’t appreciate romance in my quests.  I feel the two should remain separate, forever and ever, amen (which consequently, gave rise to Kate referring to “light boning, but not romance,” which I find unbelievably hilarious).  BUT there’s something about The Princess Bride that renders all my talk of not enjoying romance completely moot.

I like romance when it isn’t made the entire focus of the story in an obvious way.  I grow annoyed with stories about TWOO WUV that don’t focus on anything else, which is probably why this is the only book on my top five list that could be considered romance-y.

I even love the movie, which is strange, because while it’s EXACTLY like the book, it is also NOTHING like the book at the same time.

This could have something to do with the fact that I saw the movie before I read the book and 8 year old sj thought that Cary Elwes was just the most dreamy thing ever.

[sigh]

Also, in SPITE of this being one of my top five books of all time (as well as one of the five movie adaptations I don’t hate) I kind of hate Buttercup.

Don’t get me wrong – she has the best clothes ever and I kind of hate her just for that – I’m sure she’s kind of lovely and all, but she didn’t deserve Westley.

You have no idea how badly I want this dress. What’s with the uggo gloves, though? How did I never notice those before? Ew.

“Do you love me, Westley? Is that it?”

He couldn’t believe it. “Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches. If your love were—”

“I don’t understand that first one yet,” Buttercup interrupted. She was starting to get very excited now. “Let me get this straight. Are you saying my love is the size of a grain of sand and yours is this other thing? Images just confuse me so—is this universal business of yours bigger than my sand? Help me, Westley. I have the feeling we’re on the verge of something just terribly important.”

“I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids. . . . Is any of this getting through to you, Buttercup, or do you want me to go on for a while?”

“Never stop.”

“There has not been—”

“If you’re teasing me, Westley, I’m just going to kill you.”

“How can you even dream I might be teasing?”

“Well, you haven’t once said you loved me.”

“That’s all you need? Easy. I love you. Okay? Want it louder? I love you. Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. Want it backward? You love I.”

“You are teasing now; aren’t you?”

“A little maybe; I’ve been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn’t listen. Every time you said ‘Farm Boy do this’ you thought I was answering ‘As you wish’ but that’s only because you were hearing wrong.  ‘I love you’ was what it was, but you never heard, and you never heard.”

“I hear you now, and I promise you this: I will never love anyone else. Only Westley. Until I die.”

Also.  You can totally laugh at me, but until my early 20s, I really thought there was an S Morgenstern, and kept looking for the “unabridged” version of this book every time I went into a bookstore.  SHUT.  UP.

Your turn, friends.  Favourite romance?

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34 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge: Day 23

  1. This one. This one’s my favorite.

    Well, I have lots of favorites. But this one’s right up there.

    That last bit you quoted? I totally have it hanging in my bedroom. I’m quite sure that it’s the reason I’m not in a relationship. No one will ever ever EVER talk to me like this; therefore, no one is worthy of me.

    This. I want this, please. I want “Hear this now: I will always come for you.”

    Dammit, Goldman. You ruined me for real-life men.

    • There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C., when Saul and Delilah Korn’s inadvertent discovery swept across Western civilization. (Before then couples hooked thumbs.) And the precise rating of kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy, because although everyone agrees with the formula of affection times purity times intensity times duration, no one has ever been completely satisfied with how much weight each element should receive. But on any system, there are five that everyone agrees deserve full marks.

      Well, this one left them all behind.

      Not even kidding, I have whole passages of this book memorized. The movie too, but moreso the book. I love this book.

      I made The Boy read it earlier this year (because he loves the movie too) and he kept coming in and quoting bits at me. It made me SO HAPPY.

  2. “but until my early 20s, I really thought there was an S Morgenstern, and kept looking for the “unabridged” version of this book every time I went into a bookstore. ”

    Me too, my friend. Me too. Did you write to Goldman to get the Westley/Buttercup reunion scene? (Now that I know all Goldman’s asides are just his BS, I think the book is a little pretentious and I don’t understand the point of the frame story. But for a college course about The Arabian Nights, I wrote my final about this book as a modern Arabian Nights-type tale because of the sense that we’re getting an incomplete story and that it has a lot of motifs from the Arabian Nights [disguise, underground lairs, revenge, kidnapping])

    When I was in high school, I was talking to a friend about how much I hate romantic comedies. She said, well, you like the Princess Bride, don’t you? Up until that point, I had not considered it a romance. I considered it an adventure about Inigo’s quest for revenge. Westley and Buttercup was just a side story.

    • I did not, because it was already years later by the time I read it, and thought the offer was likely over.

      I like the asides even more now that I know they’re false. It feels like he’s poking fun at a lot of the books I didn’t like to read anyway (like Austen and the other ladies that wrote about society), which makes it fun for me.

      • You guys, I totally wrote away for it. You know what you get? A thing that says he’s not allowed to send it to you because his publishers won’t let him. It’s paragraphs long and very funny. You can email for it!

        • I got it, but I have no idea where it is now. I’ll have to email for it so I can read it again. I remember it erased any doubt that I had that Morgenstern wasn’t a real person.

  3. Pingback: 30 day book challenge. Day 23 « emma wolf

  4. I am so freaking glad you’ve posted about this book. Sigh and swoon and sigh some more. I have been in love with Westley for the entirety of my life. Swoon..again.

    • I love the other parts of the story even more, but this is one romance I don’t think totally sucks.

      (Shut up, Heather, you’re not getting me to read Brokeback Mountain.)

  5. I too searched for S. Morgenstern until my early 20s.

    I always felt that Westley was doing all these things to prove his love (farm chores, ships off to sea to earn a fortune, impresses a pirate, becomes a pirate, returns to her, rescues her, etc.). Yet Buttercup does what? She mourns his supposed death-by-pirates by not eating or sleeping and at the end of the book threatens her own life instead of marrying Humperdinck. Hmmm…. Other than that one inequality, I really enjoy this book.

  6. SJ,
    Favourite romance? Twilight? That tension between Bella, Edward and that wolf something topless kid… I love me some good misogyny too.
    Le Clown

    • Oh, Le Clown –

      I always thought of Twilight as more of a warning fable. If I read it again for Trashy Tuesday, I’ll have to keep the misogynistic romance aspects in mind. IF.

  7. Totally my favorite romance. Except maybe The Amber Spyglass, which isn’t really a romance except that the whole fate of all the universes ever hinge on it being a romance, so, well, ya know. I, too, searched for the unabridged version. And I love the asides. So much so, in fact, that I’m pretty sure they’re a major reason I use so many bloody parentheticals in my everything.

    And THANK YOU for pointing out that Buttercup kind of sucks! I’d never really consciously confessed that to myself, actually, and then I read what you said and there was one of those silver-spangled neon ZOMG IT’S TRUE moments bursting in angry glitter over my head.

    Dammit, now I need a broom to sweep up my illusions.

  8. Perfect pick, sj. I remember seeing the movie. (I was sadly much older than 8 – are you aging in reverse?) I loved it. I loved Fred Savage’s sweet little face, I loved Peter Falk’s raspy story-telling voice. I finally read the book just this year. When I finished it, it didn’t make me misty-eyed or super-sappy or even warm-fuzzy. I just felt satisfied, which is maybe the highest compliment I can give any book.

  9. Oh love love love. I am now staring at this book in my shelf and thinking I will read it again. (Also, I’m pretty sure everyone thought Morgenstern was real. There’s no shame in that.)

  10. *sighs happily* I love this book (and yes, I did wonder if I was buying ‘the right edition’ for a while there…) and the movie too. 10 year-old Ellie definitely fell for Westley, but 25 year-old Ellie still reckons he’s one of the dreamiest movie men ever! ;)

    I agree that Buttercup could be downright annoying (besides having a name that – sorry – did make me occasionally, fleetingly call to mind a Jersey cow from an Enid Blyton novel), but then… Inigo Montoya was awesome, so it was swings and roundabouts really. ‘As you wish’ is possibly one of the most romantic things ever – “She was amazed to discover that when he was saying ‘As you wish’, what he meant was, ‘I love you’.” *melts into a gooey puddle* When Jess says it to Rory in Gilmore Girls it has a very similar effect. Okay I’ll stop now. *discreetly flips shower on and turns it to ‘Arctic’*

  11. Ah!! One of my top favorites too. I was born the year the movie came out so remember watching it through the growing up years and nursing SUCH a crush on Cary Elwes. I stumbled upon the book during a 10 hour layover in the Seoul airport and fell in love all over again!

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