My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 30th, 1999
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Siblings
I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.
With all due respect,
Poor Baudelaire siblings, life really hasn’t been easy on them these last few days. The misfortune that incessantly befell them was heartbreaking.
But the children are strong, so strong, and intelligent, and brave. They don’t have anyone else in the world but each other.
I fell for them as deeply as I fell for The Little Princess’ Sarah. How could we as readers not, after beholding such tragedy?
Because the orphans are so likeable, which led me to care for them and their future, I never wanted to stop reading. Being assured that Violet, Klaus and Sunny would find their happily ever after was my first preoccupation.
Many events conducted the lives of the Baudelaires and, although they were unmistakably unhappy and antagonistic ones, I found charming how much we learned about the characters from them.
However, the story and its protagonists are not the only elements that will enthral readers. I personally thought the writing style to be delightful… simple but elegant and effective. Without being overly descriptive, it produces vivid (grotesque) images in the reader’s mind.
While I understand why some disliked the liberty the author took in interrupting the flow of events for a second or two to swiftly provide a definition for certain words (or expressions) more literal, I was never bothered by that and in fact welcomed the process.
I couldn’t do anything else but read this in one sitting. They called to me, those dear Baudelaires.
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