If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick–witted, but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all.If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair.I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.
With all due respect,
In The Bad Beginning, things, well, begin badly for the three Baudelaire orphans. And sadly, events only worsen in The Reptile Room. In the third in Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, there is still no hope on the horizon for these poor children. Their adventures are exciting and memorable, but, as the author points out, “exciting and memorable like being chased by a werewolf through a field of thorny bushes at midnight with nobody around to help you.”
This story begins when the orphans are being escorted by the well-meaning Mr. Poe to yet another distant relative who has agreed to take them in since their parents were killed in a horrible fire. Aunt Josephine, their new guardian, is their second cousin’s sister-in-law, and she is afraid of everything. Her house (perched precariously on a cliff above Lake Lachrymose) is freezing because she is afraid of the radiator exploding, she eats cold cucumber soup because she’s afraid of the stove, and she doesn’t answer the telephone due to potential electrocution dangers. Her greatest joy in life is grammar, however, and when it comes to the proper use of the English language, she is fearless.
But just when she should be the most fearful–when Count Olaf creeps his way back to find the Baudelaire orphans and steal their fortune–she somehow lets her guard down. Once again, it is up to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny to get themselves out of danger. Will they succeed? We haven’t the stomach to tell you. (Ages 9 to 12) –Karin Snelson