Review: As You Wish by Cary Elwes

22892103Title: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride

Author: Cary Elwes

Rating: 3 stars

I’m not a very big fan of audiobooks. It is really weird for me to have someone else reading a book to me for some reason. But recently I had  long car trip coming up and my FM radio is broken (fun!) and I’m sick of cds…so audiobook it was. I’ve been meaning to read As You Wish for a while now, and I figured, at least I already knew I liked Carey Elwes’ voice. So I checked out the audiobook from the library.

As You Wish is a memoir of Elwes’ time filming The Princess Bride, a film that is both beloved and iconic. I discovered The Princess Bride when I was twelve years old in an English class, and have loved it ever since. Elwes talks about how, at 23, he became involved with the project. He recounts his relationships with the cast and crew, discusses how The Princess Bride has become so entrenched in popular culture, and how it has shaped his life in the years since.

So the nostalgia factor in As You Wish is high. If you love the film, you will find this book sweet, funny, and engaging. And if you don’t love or know the film…why the hell did you pick up this book?

In edition to Elwes, the audiobook version features sections read by Christopher Guest (Count Rugen), Carol Kane (Valerie), Billy Crystal (Max), Chris Sarandon (Humperdink) Wallace Shawn (Vizzini),  Robin Wright (Buttercup), and director Rob Reiner. But it was odd to me–Elwes still did impressions of all their voices. And everyone else’s. It was kind of a weird experience for me, although perhaps it wouldn’t have bothered me if I was more familiar with ebooks. Still, it was pleasant to listen to Cary Elwes for six hours, I have to say, even in the middle of a stressful drive.

But there’s a serious lack of conflict in the story. Not that I particularly need conflict when reading about something I love, but Elwes kept talking about how nice everyone was. I appreciated that (you don’t want to think of your childhood favorites being made in an atmosphere of negativity), but it kind of made for a boring read. Everyone loved Andre the Giant. Everyone loved Mandy Patinkin. Everyone was excited to have Billy Crystal ad-libbing jokes. Everyone adored Robin Wright. After a while it was all love, love, love. I suppose I wished for something a little more in-depth, though I did like the way Elwes talked about how the effects were achieved, and detailed the immense preparation for the Greatest Sword Fight in Modern Times. It was interesting to learn how they filmed certain things.

Best of all, it made me want to dig out my dvd of The Princess Bride for the umpteenth time.

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