I generally don’t care for memoirs. They seem too self important and egotistical, because unless you’re a president, or a scientist who made a remarkable discovery, or a doctor who found a cure for something, I can guarantee you’re not that important.
However, I devoured As You Wish by Cary Elwes. The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies of all time, possibly THE favorite. I’ve loved the movie from the very first time I saw it as a child in the theaters.
It truly wasn’t a memoir, which is undoubtedly why I liked it so well. It was a lovely compilation of memories from the people involved in creating this film. Despite being written by Cary Elwes, and thus by default being more from his point of view, he did a fantastic job of incorporating the perspectives of others into the mix. Nearly every page had a separate dialog box with another’s memory or experience. In another book, that format could have been distracting. In this book, it was the ideal way to include those viewpoints. Breaking up Elwes’ own recollections as they did prevented the book from ever getting that self important memoir feel that I dislike so much.
I loved every word of this book. I found the inside information to be interesting, and it was something of a surprise to learn that the actors and crew felt even at the time of filming it was a very special film. I tend to view actors as spoiled brats, so when I encounter something like this book, which shows genuine depth of reflection, I’m always pleasantly surprised. It’s a relief of sorts to know they didn’t make this film, which is so beloved to me and many others, just because they needed to pay a bill and didn’t really care about it. I’m glad they loved it as much as I do.
There were many sweet and poignant memories shared throughout. But my favorite ones were actually about Andre the Giant. He seemed like he was a genuinely sweet man, a literal gentle giant, and it made me feel bad to think of the difficulties he’d had in his life. What a cool person he must have been!
I also appreciated learning about how hard Cary and Mandy Patinkin worked to learn fencing for the great duel between Inigo Montoya and the Man In Black. That is certainly the most exciting part of the movie. Or one of them, anyway. The part where Inigo gets his revenge is pretty fucking sweet, too. And the kiss at the end. And everything before that. I love this movie.
In a nutshell, this was the perfect book to tell this story, those behind the scenes events that viewers usually never learn about, the struggles and injuries and friendships formed along the way. For anyone who loves The Princess Bride even a little bit, you simply must read this charming, sweet, and funny…memoir.