Monday, June 22, 2015
Recommended Reading: Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The thirteen books follow the misadventures of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. The three children are sadly orphaned at the beginning of the series, and are put in the care of the nefarious Count Olaf, who tries to get their inheritance for himself. The children escape, and spend the rest of the series traveling between different guardians and trying to evade the Count.
That description really doesn't do the series justice, though, because it's all about the tone. Lemony Snicket -- a pseudonym of author Daniel Handler -- is one of the best narrators in fiction. He frequently stops to inject his own commentary, explain vocabulary, and foreshadow future events. It's a great opportunity to teach literary methods, but it's also just plain hilarious, and it makes the whole series unique. While others tried to imitate the books' tone in the wake of their success, no one ever quite managed it.
A few books in the middle can seem a little repetitive, as they follow the established formula of introducing a new guardian, having Count Olaf appear in disguise, and then ending with the guardian's departure (through death or other events). If you push through to the later books, though, you'll be rewarded with a fantastic ending. It may seem rambling, but by the time you get to the end you realize it's one complete, satisfying story, and well worth the effort!