Well, I stopped the family read along due to the deathly pall hanging over this series, but couldn't stop reading it myself. There's just something about anticipating murder and deception that draws one through a story...A Series of Unfortunate Events
is dark and demented. I love it! But I'm struggling to see how the constant reflection on death and the idea that "evil exists so bad things are inevitable" are appropriate even for older children. If you do allow your kids to read this one, either read along with them, or at least be prepared to have a series of deep, existential discussions with them. Take this bit of Snickety wisdom:
It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.
Well stated, right? And as a once-depressive child with an overwhelming fear of death, knowing that other children experienced my anxieties may have been helpful for me. But having one of my parents there with me to discuss the inevitability of death and what that means for relationships in the here-and-now would have done worlds of good for me. Is Lemony Snicket an exercise in youthful fatalism? Maybe. Just be prepared to engage these issues of life and death with children who pick up this series.
Putting consideration of young minds aside, the stories themselves have been entertaining, but not great thus far. I hear they get better. One final question. When the heck will I learn Lemony Snicket's and Beatrice's identities? It's killing me!