Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cannonball Read Entry #16 : A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket

To be honest, I went into this book intending to start some sort of mini-read-a-thon in order to get myself back up and running, but long story short, I ended up veering off into other books and yadda yadda yadda so long mini-read-a-thon, we hardly knew ye.

Anyway, A Series Of Unfortunate Events...It think we can all agree that the better part of books geared towards young adults are, shall we say, shit. They're not shit because they're geared towards kids (to be honest, I hate kids. Hate them. With a passion. No really, I don't think you understand just how much I absolutely fucking despise children,) but because they're geared towards what the authour thinks children are: beings devoid of a functioning brain, willing to fork over mommy's and daddy's money everytime Justin Bieber, or whatever pre-teen sex idol is yapping there whiney little face-hole off, decides to pimp something out to the adoring masses.

Instead, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, penned by the incomparable Daniel Handler under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket, is what a young adult novel should be: Smart, cynical and biting without being pretentious, bitter or mean-spirited. It celebrates intelligence, ingenuity and ambition while admonishing selfishness, vapidity and laziness. Hell, at the risk of sounding like an eighty-year-old man, if kids today read these books and took them to heart, we as a nation might have a shot in hell.

Now get off my damn lawn.


Oh, yes, that's right, the plot. Here it is: Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are a trio of well-off siblings who excell in inventing, reading, and biting respectively. Then one day, their parents die. No rhyme or reason is given to it, they're just dead and they're somehow expected to deal with it because that's the way the universe works.

They're then pawned off onto Count Baudelaire, a man with an at-best tenuous relation with the siblings who proceeds to treat them like shit and plots on stealing the enormous fortune their parents left them. They're abused physically, verbally and emotionally and the only people they have to rely on are each other. And of course, this being a kids book, good triumphs (albeit temporarily) over evil not by some random deus ex machina awkwardly squeezed in at the end, but through their own actions.

To be honest, the book doesn't go all that far, but it establishes the voice for the series as well as promoting the the virtue self-reliance. Chances are, I will never have kids, mostly because kids are the goddamn devil, but if I did (which I won't) they'd pretty much be mandated to read these books.

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