I don’t think it’s any great secret that I have some strong opinions.  Some of these opinions are so strong, in fact, that I don’t really think of them as opinions; to me, they are facts.  Undeniable, irrefutable, indisputable facts.

Connery was the best Bond.

Coke is better than Pepsi.

The best ice cream in the world comes from Sherman’s Dairy in South Haven, Michigan.

Beer tastes better from a bottle.

The book is always better than the movie.  Always.

That last one has just been shaken, which has then shaken my world.  I don’t want to believe that a movie version of a book could ever be better than the book itself.  Can’t be.   I just can’t accept it.

Some movies come pretty close.  In Cold Blood was a fantastic adaptation, faithful to the book in every possible way.  Mystic River almost got it.  Even the Harry Potter movies were more faithful to the books than anyone expected (other than Ron Weasley being more Comic Relief than Loyal Sidekick in the movies, that is).  True, there were a lot of details left out, but it would have taken twenty movies to contain all of the detail that Rowling included in her books.

Most movie adaptations are laughable at best, leaving audiences to wonder if the screenwriter has ever even read the book.  They show an appalling lack of respect for the author.  Love Comes Softly and its sequels were decimated by whoever thought it would be a good idea to re-write Jannette Oke.  The Three Investigators movies were a joke.  And I won’t even discuss what happened to Little House on the Prairie when it moved to TV.

The book is always better than the movie.  Always.

So I just read The Princess Bride, because it had to be even more magnificent than the movie.  Right?

Now, if you disliked the movie, don’t tell me.  I love it, and that makes it another one of those “Amy Facts.”    If you have seen the movie and you don’t get goosebumps at the words “Hello, My name is Inigo Montoya . . .” then we cannot be friends.  It’s as simple as that.  If you’ve never had a romantic fantasy involving a handsome man murmuring “As you wish,” then you have no romance in your heart.

I hated the book.  Hated it.  Every word of it, every minute spent reading it.  Hated it.  Perhaps it is because I saw the movie first, multiple times.  Maybe it’s because I read the “Anniversary Edition” of the book, filled with author’s notes and background information.

William Goldman didn’t write The Princess Bride.  He “abridged” it from an older work by someone named S. Morgenstern.  He never obtained the rights to do so, and as a result spent years bogged down in legal battles.   From his notes, it seems that he was a sad and depressed little man trying to find a way to connect with his son through a book that had been special to him as a child.  Goldman was in the final stages of a dying marriage overrun by passive-aggression and manipulation, and the story-behind-the-story is soul-suckingly sad.  Heartbreaking.  Depressing beyond all comprehension.

Okay, maybe I related a little too strongly because I am in the midst of a divorce, and I sometimes wonder if I am losing touch with my children as they grow up.  Perhaps I pity Goldman so much because I relate to him and I don’t want to explore those feelings just now.

Watching The Princess Bride makes me believe in True Love.  It makes me believe in and wish for the whole fantasy of a love that’s meant to be, of that perfect kiss.  It makes me want to believe in Happily Ever After.  Reading it reminded me that it’s all just a fantasy.  That it wasn’t Westley and Princess Buttercup falling in love, but Cary Elwes and Robin Wright collecting a paycheck for a job well done.

The book killed the fantasy.

At the end of the book, we learn that the adventure continues.  They don’t escape happily on the four white horses.  They are captured again; Inigo nearly succumbs to his wounds.  Buttercup almost dies in childbirth on a lonely deserted island near a whirlpool, and her baby daughter is subsequently kidnapped.

No, no, no.  I want my Happy Ever After, damn it.  I want to see Fezzik’s shy smile before he catches “the Lady” and sets her upon her horse.  I want to know that Westley and Buttercup go on to share the greatest kiss of all time, and that Inigo finds a new purpose in life.  I want my Happy Ending for everyone.

Anything else is inconceivable.

A Million Dollars, A Million Dreams?

If I had a million dollars, I wouldn’t go crazy with it.  Oh, I’d buy myself a Mother’s Ring with my kids’ birthstones, and I’d probably splurge on a Little Gracie quilting frame, but those are pretty small purchases for a person with a million bucks.  After that, I’d be very practical.

I’d buy a house.  Not a fancy house, not a showplace.  Just a simple house with enough bedrooms for my kids and me.  It would have to be near town, close enough to the school and grocery store that I would never again have to worry about being trapped at home in bad weather.  My dream house would have a good furnace and central air, a dishwasher, and a big enough yard for me to have some peony bushes and a small vegetable garden.

Isn’t this the sweetest little dream house? At $65,000. it might as well be a $1,000,000.


It would have to have a heated toilet seat too.  Hey, I live in Michigan and I have a big butt.  Enough said.

I’d buy a van.  I miss my van.  I hate our Expedition and am more than happy to let my husband keep it; my little Focus wagon is a very nice car that is safe and sturdy and handles like a dream, but I just felt safer in my Windstar.   A van could carry my kids and their friends; a van is bigger and heavier on dangerous winter roads without feeling like I’m driving a school bus.

I’d set up a small scholarship fund in my mother’s name for girls graduating from her high school.  She always told us that she was denied the right to speak as Valedictorian because of her gender, and was subsequently denied a scholarship for the same reason.  Whether her story was true or not, I like the sound of the Kay M. Kirk Memorial Science Scholarship.

I’d make a sizeable donation to some of the local food pantries, and to the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

After that, all I would want from the money is enough to live on for the next year.  Groceries, living expenses, nothing special.   Enough to be able to stay home and write for a year without having to stress about finding a job.  Enough to take care of my kids without asking for child support – not that their father would ever try to get out of paying.  It would just be nice if he didn’t have to pay.  We are really trying to do this “friendly divorce” thing, and there’s nothing friendlier between exes than the words “no, I don’t need child support”.

I’d keep the rest in a “rainy day fund” and hope for sunny skies.  I have three very smart kids who are all going to want to go to college, so I have a feeling the money wouldn’t last long after those essentials.

That’s basically it.  Yes, I am a very boring human being.  I wish I could fantasize about tropical vacations or out-of-control shopping sprees.  But really, I’d be bored on a beach and I detest shopping at crowded malls.  I just want a home and a car, and a chance to give a little something back.

Although a trip to Scotland would be pretty cool.

No, I’d better stop while I’m still being practical.  No need to overspend my imaginary money.

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday, and this week’s starter sentence was “If I had a million dollars, I would. . . ”