Review: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket

For the love of books

Every volume in A Series of Unfortunate Events begins with the author’s personal warning. Lemony Snicket clearly states that the true history concerning the three Baudelaire orphans does not have a “happy ending,” and that the reader should attend to other activities rather than reading such dreadfully morose tales.

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are three very intelligent children whose lives are changed forever by the sudden death of their parents in a fire.  Forced to live with designated guardians, the orphans are thrust into a series of unfortunate events filled with entangled mysteries, danger, and secrets.  The evil Count Olaf and his gang are the antagonists who relentlessly pursue Violet, Klaus, and Sunny in the hope of stealing the Baudelaire fortune.  Beleaguered by clever villains, ridiculous guardians, and unsolved secrets, the children must use all their abilities and wits to stay alive while witnessing horrible crimes.

The events surrounding the main characters take place in a realistic world engulfed by judicial corruption, schism within governments and organizations, deceptive newspapers, unpunished crime, and constant injustice.   The Baudelaires’ own hometown is reminiscent of San Francisco in California.  While narrating the story, Lemony Snicket cleverly adds to each satirical chapter his opinions about the English language.  Many fallacies in the English language along with its common expressions, proverbs, and idioms are attacked by Snicket’s acerbic wit.  He purposely uses a rich vocabulary which he uniquely defines for the reader.  Even famous figures and celebrities cannot escape the author’s acute eye and are mocked by his clever replicas throughout the series.  The cornucopia of information within all the novels is incredible, varying from definitions and inventions to scientific explanations and scenic descriptions.  Snicket even involves himself as a character in the story by connecting himself to the Baudelaires.  His extraordinary writing style enriches the content of each novel.  While depicting the Baudelaires’ tragic lives, the author still manages to entertain the reader.

A Series of Unfortunate Events is comprised of thirteen novels, all individually titled.

Original review: A fortunate addition to children’s literature, Examiner.com

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