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Column — For Young Readers

Popular Lemony Snicket series comes to ‘The End’

Well, we can’t say he didn’t warn us.
Lemony Snicket, author of the hugely popular “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” has cautioned his audience time and time again that they should not, under any circumstances, read his chronicles of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. Mr. Snicket thinks that the story of three orphans struggling to survive in a world filled with people who mean well but are no help at all, people who only help themselves, and people who know too much to live long enough to help, is much too dreary for young readers, but the story is anything but unnecessarily grim.  The three Baudelaire children are amazingly bright but very unlucky, and although it is Mr. Snicket’s sworn duty to record their misfortunes, he often reiterates that you do not have to share his fate.
The 13th and last book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, “The End” picks up the Baudelaires’ story where the previous book left off, and from there plunges into a story all its own. After surviving a long sea trip with notorious villain Count Olaf, the Baudelaire orphans find themselves shipwrecked on an island inhabited by a small group of people with strange customs.  Count Olaf is temporarily sent away, and the Baudelaires almost seem safe for once in their sad adventures. However, the children suspect that something strange is going on within the community and are once again drawn into the thick of things because of their curiosity. Will things finally get better for Violet, Klaus, and Sunny?  Or will they end up just as let down as in the previous stories?
The most striking thing about A Series of Unfortunate Events, aside from Lemony Snicket’s brilliant use of reverse psychology, is the fact that the author is just as fascinating as the books themselves. By the time readers hit the later part of the series, it becomes somewhat clear that the character of Lemony Snicket is as much a part of the story as the Baudelaires themselves, and Mr. Snicket gives his audience small details about himself and his affiliation to the Baudelaire children and their deceased parents. These little details are part of what makes Mr. Snicket a master of suspense and intrigue, and coupled with illustrator Brett Helquist, the series has earned its reputation as a dark yet wonderful adventure.
Lemony Snicket would prefer readers to stay as far away from his books as possible, but I would encourage readers to delve deeper into Mr. Snicket’s world. “The Beatrice Letters” in addition to “Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography” are companions to A Series of Unfortunate Events, and are great finds for anyone who loves the series.  
Lindsey and Paige Oliver are  ninth graders at Bulloch Academy. Their book review of a work aimed at readers ages 9-14 appears monthly in the Herald.

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