Can we start with a little history? Sure. It’s my blog and I make these decisions. When I first started watching movies in English, a Series of Unfortunate Events was one of the first I came upon and one that I watched quite frequently because I loved it. Klaus and Violet were always characters in my first few stories because they were just so brilliant and smart. I’ve known for a while that the movie is based on a series of books, but I never got the chance to get my hands on them. But this year, one of my close bookish friends started reading them and urged me to do the same. So I did, starting the first book at the Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon.
First of all, let’s take a moment to admire the beauty of this particular edition! I borrowed it from a friend of mine, and I just think it’s so beautiful. Now let’s move onto content.
1. Characters: There’s nothing better to offer young readers than smart characters who like to read. Indeed, Violet and Klaus are such brilliant kids who have such an insatiable thirst for knowledge and are happiest when they are offered the chance to gain experience. But what’s more important than that is the fact that they utilise the things they learn to cope with their new life and to overcome the adversities that Count Olaf serves them on a frequent basis. As for Sunny, I think it’s quite admirable how Daniel Handler made her knack to bite things of use to her siblings. I also really liked how he wrote down what she said, even if it was all gibberish; it certainly does add a little more defining touch to her character and the way we see and hear her, as we wouldn’t if the author had just always said, “and Sunny mumbled intelligible things”. Or that’s the way I see it anyway. And I think that for a reader who’s in Violet’s or Klaus’s age, and who will follow them through all 13 books, they will have a lot of fun seeing them grow and change. ESPECIALLY SUNNY. Do think about Sunny. I think the only reason I’ll go on with the story, even though I know most of the things they’ll go through from the movie, is to see this “growth”.
And then there’s, of course, the infamous Count Olaf. I think it’s quite inventive to give such a mad villain a funny side too, and have him make jokes occasionally.
2. Plot: It probably follows the same cast that most children stories follow. But what makes this different, I guess, is that its characters tackle one challenge per book.
3. Narration: This is what really makes this book stand out! Not only is it funny but it also helps teach younger readers new, “smart” words. The descriptions are simple but most importantly try to make the reader understand how these 3 children feel through comparing their sentiments to things we, and even children, go through every day and end up making us feel a certain way.
Book #1: I flew through this book because I was really, really impressed to see how faithfully the movie followed it. After a while, I started to feel a little bored because I really could recite the movie out loud; I’ve watched it that many times! But, then, the ending threw me off a little and made me excited to go ahead with the rest of the series to find out all these little differences between the movie and the books. I hadn’t thought about this whole “growth” thing until that friend of mine mentioned it.
Anyway, I think it’s a really good start for a series and the way it ended certainly made me want to see what’ll happen next.
Book #2: I loved this book more than I did the first one because it wasn’t as faithfully portrayed in the movie. Which is understandable. I loved seeing the kids happy and maintaining a normal life even if for just the first half of the book. I guess the important thing that I noticed book is how adults, even the ones who love us, and in this case Uncle Monty, they don’t really trust children’s words when it comes to serious issues such as “there is a conman in the house and he wants us dead”. It’s always disregarded by adults as children’s over-active imagination and their yearning for a sense of adventure.
So yeah, I think that’s all I have to say about these books for now. At this moment, I’m not entirely sure I’ll go on with it. But I do hope that I can convince my little brother to pick this series up next year, when he’s a more capable reader, and we can read them together then.