‘A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window’ by Lemony Snicket

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‘Dear Reader,
If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted, but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and the one you are holding may be the worst of them all.
If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably will probably fill you with despair.
I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket.’

 ‘The Wide Window’ always stayed in my mind as an especially interesting chapter in the grim lives of the Baudelaire orphans purely because of the multiple images that stuck so thoroughly in my memory over the years. For instance, the image of Josephine’s house teetering over the edge of a huge cliff above the large, leech infested Lake Lachrymose has always been one of the strongest images of the series for me.

Although I never really liked the character of Aunt Josephine, purely because of how utterly useless she was as a guardian, it is always incredibly sad when she dies. Perhaps because she dies twice so you feel the Baudelaire’s sadness and horror twice. First, when you first read the grammatically incorrect note Josephine left and then again when Olaf pushes her off of the boat into Lake Lachrymose. Perhaps it is because of how sad her past was, especially considering the loss of her beloved husband Ike, to the Lachrymose Leeches. Either way, no matter how much I dislike Josephine’s cowardice I’m always sad when she dies and I feel like that is one of the best indications to the brilliance of Snicket’s writing- how complex and yet strangely endearing his characters are.

This book features the second and, for me, one of the most memorable of Count Olaf’s disguises, Captain Sham. As Sham, Olaf returns to try once again to get his grubby mitts on the Baudelaire fortune. This time, Olaf’s plan to threaten Josephine into faking her own death so that she officially leaves the Baudelaire’s to his alter ego, Captain Sham, almost works to the point where he even signs all the adoption papers to become the Baudelaire’s new guardian but is revealed to be Olaf at the last minute by the quick thinking of Sunny. Once again Sunny saves the day as she bites through Sham’s fake peg leg and reveals Olaf’s signature eye shaped tattoo which is one of the main reasons Sunny is one of my favourite characters- the girl gets stuff done.

This book was an incredibly enjoyable real and always was which is probably why I read it so easily today, getting through the entire book in one sitting even though I only finished the second one this morning. I really love reading these books and I’m having such a great time rereading them but I have to be honest the end of this book marks a distinct difference in just how well I remember the events of the story. Thanks to the film and the new Netflix series, the events of the first three books are fully ingrained into my brain but after book four my memory will start to get vaguer. This is what I’m really looking forward to, I can’t wait to rediscover all those great stories that I’ve temporarily forgotten. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot more reading to do.

5-stars

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