Book Group, Books

Book 478: The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) – Lemony Snicket

I’m still not sure what to think about these. This one got so much darker so much faster than the first book. I’m also trying to figure out why these books are okay for kids.

I mean I get it, but it’s a bit overwhelming when you think about how dark and how dangerous these books are. Thankfully there’s a lot of (light and dark) humor that it sort of balances out.

I actually really enjoyed Montgomery Montgomery and was sad how that ended, but I’m continuously amazed at how idiotic the adults are, which really is why we’re reading these books this year because of the whole Trump elections thing.

What I enjoy most about the series so far is that Snicket’s language skills are incredibly great and with a town called Tedia (think tedium), Lousy Lane, and there are even more ways in which he plays with language.

Recommendation: The series is good and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m fascinated by Count Olaf and all of his pawns, but I’m concerned that we won’t get that far with these characters because these are children’s books.

Opening Line:The stretch of road that leads out of the city past Hazy Harbor and into the town of Tedia, is perhaps the most unpleasant in the world.”

Closing Line: “They stood together in the moonlight, and kept waving, even when Bruce shut the doors of the van, even as the van drove past the snake-shaped hedges and down the driveway to Lousy Lane, and even when it turned a corner and disappeared into the dark.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers.)


6 thoughts on “Book 478: The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) – Lemony Snicket”

  1. I’ll try to answer your question about why these books are OK for kids! My daughter read this entire series starting when she was around 8 and ending when the thirteenth book was published and she was 10 – I read the first four of them. The first book was released in 1999, when she was 3’ish. She started reading them a number of years after that (obviously), probably when she was in the 4th or 5th grade. They didn’t frighten her in the least, and I think that is because the villain is so cartoonish and the characters so preposterous that it can’t be taken seriously in the slightest. It is basically dark comedy for children. I took her to a midnight release party for the last book in 2006 – she was 11.

    They are similar to classic children’s stories in that way – Grimm fairy tales of death and dismemberment. They are absurdist and gothic and satirical and histrionic and not to be taken seriously, which at least some kids totally get – I know this because my kid did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and for the enlightening comment. I guess I understand how children can read it and how parents can let their children read it, logically. I think for me that the more I’m reading the series, through an adult’s eyes the scarier it seems because it deals with things like child marriage and child labor. I have to remember to take some of those ideas out of my head in order to read it.


      1. It’s an interesting dichotomy, though, isn’t it? It’s very similar to sitting down and really thinking about the content behind the original Grimm Fairy Tales, which are really very brutal. Cinderella’s sisters cut off parts of their feet to make the glass slipper fit, and the original tale gives a description of the blood running over the shoe. The Twelve Dancing Princesses ends in the death of prince after prince after prince as they are unable to solve the mystery of worn out shoes, and the princesses themselves are worn out and exhausted, nearly danced to death. Hansel and Gretel is nothing short of terrifying, with a father abandoning his children in the forest because there isn’t sufficient food to go around and he chooses his wife over his children. Shudder.

        Liked by 1 person

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