“A Series of Unfortunate Events”

April 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Children's Book, Fiction | 2 Comments

I finally finished volume 13 of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I’ve been chipping away at them over the past three years.  It’s always a mixed feeling, on the one hand finally knowing the full story, yet on the other hand knowing there won’t be any more of it.  If you haven’t read these yet, I’m going to vote that you give at least one of them a chance.

There are some readers who feel no interest in reading children’s books, and others who tend to appreciate them more with age.  I’m definitely in the latter category.  A Series of Unfortunate Events is like the best cartoons:  it has jokes that work for kids and jokes that sail over their heads, aiming straight for the adult audience.  Many of the characters and locations are named after famous literary or historical figures.  There is one scene in which the children find some strange, unnamed objects; only an adult would be likely to realize that they include the Rosetta Stone and the Holy Grail.  See what I mean?

These books are great for kids because the orphan siblings are polite, get along well together, and enjoy reading.  I like to promote those things; I’m square that way.  They’re also great because they’re quirky and original.  I have to say that I was blown away by the ending because it was so different from what I expected.  I thought, after 13 volumes, there would have to be some kind of grand summation of the fates of all the many characters.  No way did I expect “Lemony Snicket” to break this unwritten rule of children’s fiction.  Surprise!



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  1. I just adore this series. The first books in particular had me laughing until I was nearly crying. So many hilarious asides, like the Virginia Woolfsnake that should never be given access to a typewriter. Hah! And the Baudelaires are such great characters. As you say, they’re polite and intelligent, each in his or her own way.

    I don’t think the last books were as good as the first ones, but even at its lowest points, the series is one of the best children’s series I’ve ever read. I own them all, and the books themselves are just beautifully put together. Wonderful, wonderful series!

  2. I had a friend who had a whole collection of these, raved about them! I’d been meaning to try them someday- didn’t know there were so many.

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