Wednesday, December 7, 2011

{Update} A little Lemony goodness

It is a nippy day here in Kansas, perfect if you're a coffee-drinking, blanket-snuggling, keyboard-tapping, book-devouring nut like myself. Now, I have something very specific on the brain at the moment, something I'm quite sure a few of you are familiar with, and that would be...
my eclectic collection of snicket books,
minus #3, unfortunately.
Lemony Snicket. Ahh, dear, cynical, disillusioned, and oftentimes snarky Lemony. Children's literature just wouldn't be the same without you. When A Series of Unfortunate Events came out several years ago I knew it was something I absolutely had to read, and yet it wasn't until this past summer (when I got my hands on the series via a yard sale, the Salvation Army, the library and my sis) that I actually started reading them. I didn't want to completely rush through the series so I have been reading them off and on since then, finishing the tenth book just a couple days ago. I was surprised by how much I adore Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, the unfortunate orphans, and how much I love to hate Count Olaf, the unkempt villain. I simply was not expecting to be so drawn to the characters. I've been trying to decide since I started the series what it is exactly that I like so much. This is what I've come up with so far...

The whimsicality and imagination present in this series is a feature of children's books that I have always loved. Yes, some adult books have an element of fantasy or creativity, but few ever achieve the level found in children's lit (take Pippi Longstocking, for example, or The Wind in the Willows, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Borrowers series, the list goes on and on). Ironically, the books I just listed are all "old", the most recently published being Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it came out in 1962. So, I suppose another thing I love about them is that they are reminiscent of older children's books (I'm having a hard time explaining this one, even to myself, but there it is). So anyway, who cares if the Snicket stories aren't "realistic" like most adult books strive to be; they have a level of honesty about life and its problems that adult books could probably learn a thing or two from. They also promote intelligence, self-reliance, problem-solving, and vocabulary expansion. In a way, the Baudelaire orphans are the heroes of geeks and nerds everywhere. They tell the reader, "It's okay to be smart, cool even!" They are also humorously moralistic without beating you over head with the lesson learned. I also love how developed the characters are and that they continue to actively develop and grow throughout the series. This is something that can be a little lacking in children's literature resulting in disappointingly two-dimensional characters. It's almost as if Lemony Snicket has deciphered what is so wonderful about both children's books and adult fiction and combined them, endowing this series with the best of both worlds.

Now, I encountered only one obstacle while reading this series: a certain repetitiveness present in a few of the books, namely #4, The Miserable Mill, and #5, The Austere Academy. However, don't let this stop you and don't skip them! I thought they were a little weaker than some of the others but still definitely worth reading, plus you learn vital information in them, as in every volume. All things considered, the mild repetition is not that big of an issue in the first place (especially in a series of thirteen books!), so A Series of Unfortunate Events is in no danger of losing its status as one of my all-time favorite children's series.

Have you read any Snickets? What do you think, awesome or over-rated? What is your favorite or least favorite book in the series? I'd love to know your thoughts, so please, leave a comment below! Have a wonderful evening and happy reading!
Mary Beth


  1. Yay! You know my feelings on the series. I've been thinking about doing a reread of them all now but it's a matter of digging up all my old copies. I don't have kids, so I always feel like a dweeb hanging around the kid's section of the library.

  2. Haha, I understand, though the other night I told myself to ignore the strange looks and marched into the children's section and got a couple of Redwall books. I even poked around the vampire-laden YA section (which I find even more of a challenge than the kids', lol). So go ahead and dig out your copies or grab 'em from the library! It'll be worth it for poor Lemony :)

  3. I totally forgot about Lemony Snicket! I used to love these books then just stopped reading them. Maybe I should pick them back up just to finish the series.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!