A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Review

So when I’m not blogging or parenting or wifeing, I am most likely reading. I’m one of the co-founders of my very own book club, was an English major in college, and used to manage the children’s department at an independent bookstore which sadly closed its doors in 2006. Point being, I like to read – a LOT – and consider myself “something of a literary expert” to vaguely quote one of my MLM’s favorite t.v. shows, Word World (and oh yes, I do love all of the ABC, reading themed shows on PBS these days). So anyway, I read a lot, and the last month has mostly been devoted to reading A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I’m assuming you’ve heard of it – otherwise, hi there and welcome to Earth!

I’d heard the rave reviews about this series for years, but hadn’t read them myself for various reasons – like being in hardcover for ages, the sheer quantity, and that mild itching theory of mine that a lot of books get seriously over-hyped. But SOME books are hyped just right and when my SIL loaned me the first nine books, really, what excuse did I have?

I began reading this series at the tail end of January. From that point on – it became an obsession – food, sleep, socializing, even my book club books – all took a back seat to Snicket’s genius. My husband endured weeks of me excitedly rambling about how Snicket was the next Chaucer (as in creates a character for himself inside the novel who happens to be less intelligent perhaps on purpose for the sole reason of pointing out the obvious – thus showing his true genius), a real literary pro who had created one of the world’s few masterpieces. I dreamt about this series and frequently found myself referring to the heroine of my book club pick as “Not the Baudelaires.”

But enough fanfare. Really, if you don’t have cheap access to this series, it is a bit of an undertaking and may get expensive at 13 books total (I highly recommend Amazon) but it’s seriously worth it. Here is an author who can pay attention to EVERY detail and ensure you are immersed in his world. And he takes one seriously complicated plot and delivers it in 13 manageable pieces, building and smoothing and leveling so that you properly digest every book. And if you aren’t well read or are in fact a child – his primary audience – this is an excellent series to help you build up your vocabulary and knowledge of the world, as Snicket will constantly define words, explain away anything and give examples of everything, without losing your interest somehow. He accomplishes what those SAT novels wanted to accomplish without being completely nerdy and even I, the English major, learned a few new things in this series. Your parents, in short, will approve.

Anyway, if you or a child you know have been meaning to read this series, run, don’t walk, to the nearest library or bookstore and get ready for one of the best reading experiences of your life. Seriously.

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