Ironically, long before I made the Facebook post that caused my little disaster last week, I had started rereading “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” If you are looking for a series of happy children’s books with delightful stories about how a trio of children have one after another interesting and uplifting adventure do not read these books. It will be a disappointment. I remember well the first time I read all thirteen books from “The Bad Beginning” to “The End.” I expected the end to be an end but it wasn’t. I was disappointed.
But if you are looking for a series of books to read that increases your vocabulary and understanding of many of the strange sayings used by english speakers, books that are both comical and all too painfully realistic at the same time, books that both explain and demonstrate the sticky tightrope between good and evil that each and every one of us must navigate daily, and if you are ready to accept that every end to a story is really just another beginning, that every beginning was someone else’s ending, and that there are some mysteries we can never solve, then I recommend this series as special gift. To me it is a coming of age series. It is about seeing things as they are instead of as we want them to be.
My daughter and I both read it when our family broke apart many years ago. Though we were separated physically we passed the books to each other and shared in the pain and frustrations of all the mysteries. It was a comforting way that in our darkest times we could both empathize with the Baudelaires struggles and learn from them. My children and I are together again and I only started rereading the books to pass the time, when I broke my shoulder last November. Yet as I finish “The End” today, it is again a touching reminder to me not only of how far we’ve come but of the delicacy required to try to understand all sides of any incident.
Like this series of books, life is often a disappointment if we insist on having to fix every single thing, but we can make a difference and find some peace if we are content with doing just one noble thing.
Thank you, Lemony Snicket.