I know I said this with the last book, but things are definitely starting to pick up with the Baudelaire orphans and I’m thoroughly enjoying the series now. I’m not sure if it’s because Snicket appears to be writing more to include the adults who probably read these to younger children or if there is something more to it.
In this novel he lists a few of Virginia Woolf’s iconic characters (Orlando and Clarissa Dalloway) and he even randomly name checks two of arguably the most famous non-English authors out there Mikhail Bulgakov and Haruki Murakami as patients in the hospital.
I also like that he’s bucking gender norms, regardless of the idiocy of the adults, in throwing in random sentences such as
“A plumber might hop, for instance, if she finally fixed a particularly difficult leak in someone’s shower.” (Loc. 399)
Snicket is creating a more diverse and inclusive world at the same time that he’s making sure that he teaches lightness with all of the darkness in the novels.
“We’re not villains. We’re good people. We had to do tricky things in order to save our lives.” (Loc. 2077)
I really enjoy that he’s starting to introduce higher level thoughts and emotions to the Baudelaire orphans. It’s making them real and easier to relate to. The cookie cutter books and characters from the first four books in the series are starting to actually evolve into independent characters.
Nothing shows this more than when the orphans are separated and are forced to work without all three to solve a few problems. And then the end of this novel, it’s a cliff hanger of course, but it’s definitely more of a hell yeah orphans get yours! They’ve taken “taking responsibility” to another level and I cannot wait to read the next book.
Recommendation: YES! As I said in the last one, skip the first few and start with book five or six, or just binge read the first ones and then you’ll be in the heart of the story. The ridiculousness of the adults continues to compound, but at least the youth appear to be making an effort at taking charge and responsibility for themselves.
Opening Line: “There are two reasons why a writer would end a sentence with the word “stop” written entirely in capital letters STOP.”
Closing Line: “For the Baudelaire orphans—if indeed they were still orphans—the shelter of Count Olaf’s trunk would have to do, until something better came along.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)