There were a couple of pretty big revelations in this book that I was like WHOA. Some you could see them coming, but they were still like WTF!? I really really really really really want to read through the whole series ASAP, but I’m doing my best not to as these are the book group books for this year.
This book piqued my interest even more than the last because the Baudelaires have decided to try to take charge of their own destiny as much as three children can. They haven’t quite figured it out yet, but they’re working on it, but when Klaus said, “We’ve spent so much of our time trying to escape from Count Olaf, I can’t believe we’re trying to find him.” (Loc. 1200), I almost whooped out lout on the airplane. I was just so happy they were finally acknowledging the idiocy of the adults around them and were going to do something about it.
I feel like I mentioned this in a previous response, but one of the things I’m really enjoying about the series is Snicket’s fun with language from the titles of the books (I had no idea what ersatz meant) to the witty place names he uses like Lachrymose Lake (I found out that lachrymose is a real word that means tearful or given to weeping) or even the somewhat absurd names like Cafe Salmonella in this book. No person in their right mind would eat at something called that, but he explains it away by saying everything at the cafe is salmon inspired.
This book did a better job of being less dark and tragic and more social commentary. I’m hoping this means the series is taking a turn for something I will enjoy more. The caricatures and the idiotic adults and, in this book particular, their obsession with rules or “in things” are making me laugh and they make me want to read the rest of the series faster!
I also have to appreciate the authors (and Klaus’) love of books and libraries. I feel like in every book there’s a library mention, some better than others:
“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them. Even libraries that were not to the Baudelaires’ taste—Aunt Josephine’s library, for instance, only contained books on grammar—were comfortable places to be in, because the owners of the library used them so much.” (Loc. 1495)
I am definitely glad to say I’m looking forward to the rest of the series now. That’s a definite improvement over those first few books when I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep reading the series and was only going to because it was our book group choice for the year.
Recommendation: This is the book where things really kick off. If you can make it this far I feel like it’ll be worth your time! I’m proud I didn’t dive right into the next book (I already have it), but it’s another month away for book group 😦
Opening Line: “The book you are holding in your two hands right now—assuming that you are, in fact, holding this book, you have only two hands—is one of two books in the world that will show you the difference between the word ‘nervous’ and the word ‘anxious.'”
Closing Line: “No matter how many misfortunes had befallen them and no matter how many ersatz things they would encounter in the future, the Baudelaire orphans knew they could rely on each other for the rest of their lives, and this, at least, felt like the one thing in the world that was true.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)