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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Daisy Faye's Miracle Man is No Miracle Max!






As part of the ongoing challenge to shrink my "Spring Reading Thing" TBR (to be read) pile of books, I present to you a review of both Daisy Faye and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg and The Princess Bride by Willman Goldman.


I am a fabulous Fannie Flagg Fan! (How's that for allieration?) I really enjoyed her Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; and her A Redbird Cristmas is my all-time-Fannie favorite. So, I was really excited to jump into Miracle Man and enjoy a delightful, albiet simple, read.

When, in the first few pages, I met Daisy Faye, she was a young adolescent just "sitting around waiting for the sixth grade." Ms. Flagg tells this 'coming of age' story from perspective of Daisy Faye, herself; and the way she seperates what's really going on from what Dasy Fay thinks is happening is often rather charming.

Daisy's mother is all but gone, and her father is an alcoholic who is always living in his next big dream. Daisy must grow up quickly, and figure out how to make it in this world, with the help of friends and neighbors who take her into their hearts along the way.

My problem with this book is that it only had it's charming moments. I kept waiting for the poignant, heart-wrenching moments, but the story just fell short. In the end, Daisy Faye comes into her own, and almost everyone lives happily ever after, but as I turned the last few pages, I found that I really didn't care. Daisy Faye never really grabbed me and made me want to hear her story. It's a shame, too. Because I'm still fabulous Fannie Flagg fan!

On the other hand, we have William Goldman's The Princess Bride.

As you may have read in my original Spring Reading Thing Challenge Post, My family acts out, obsesses over, loves The Princess Bride movie! We find that our everyday conversations are peppered with phrases like "Fezzik, please!", and "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means".

If you are a lover of The Princess Bride movie, you will be delighted with the book. A great deal of the dialogue in the movie comes straight from its pages - preserving that unique humor that makes this story a classic.

A delightful twist in the book itself is the idea that the author, William Goldman, is rewriting a story originally written by one S. Morganstern. The original book, read to him by his father, when Goldman was a child, is a bit too bulky and political. So,he's cutting out the boring parts, and leaving in the best stuff. In the story, Goldman tells us that though he included Morganstern's version of the reunion scene between Westley and Buttercup at the bottom of the ravine, he prefers his own, rewritten version. Sadly, he was prevented from including that version by the Morganstern estate...but if you want to read it, you can write to his publisher and recieve a copy -- he even includes a mailing address. I did some web-surfing, and found a message posted on mrcranky.com where as a child, the writer wrote to the publisher, and recieved a response explaining that a lawyer for the Morganstern estate is still blocking the publisher from releasing Goldman's version of the scene through crafty legal maneuvers. Very funny indeed!

After a bit more research, I discovered that in order to lend more believability to this Morganstern character, Goldman also published a children's book titled "The Silent Gondoliers" under the pseudonymn S. Morganstern. I, of course, added it to my TBR list, and am impatiently waiting to recieve it from amazon.com in the coming weeks. I hope it is as funny as The Princess Bride.

In conclusion, I quote Goldman's Inigo Mantoya (interpreted in the movie by the dazzlingly brilliant Mandy Patinkin), "Let me explain, no...there's too much, let me sum up." The Princess Bride is a classic, a favorite, chock full of "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles.." and laughs galore! Read it. You'll be glad you did.

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