Review: The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket


Genre: Middle-Grade/Childrens, Fantasy
Pages: 214
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #3
Release Date: February 25, 2000
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Previous two review here: The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room

4 Stars


A Series of Unfortunate Events, as you know, follows three orphans, and an evil man, Count Olaf, who wants to get his hands on their inheritance. In every book, Count Olaf comes up with a plan, bad things happen to the kids, but they manage to stop him. Temporarily.

The newest guardian for the Baudelaires is Aunt Josephine, who’s a sucky guardian because she’s afraid of everything. But the children are still trying to make do and, what do you know, Count Olaf shows up again. Obviously, none of the adults are any help because they refuse to listen to kids so they’re on their own, trying to escape Count Olaf’s clutches once again.

It’s the same formula with every book, but not in a bad way. It’s like Phineas and Ferb. They make something awesome (and usually impossible), Candace tries to bust them, Perry goes off to fight Doof. Perry succeeds, Candace fails, onto the next episode. It works.

The thing that, for me, improved in this particular was that it was more clever. The solution to the problems wasn’t obvious. You could see that the Baudelaire orphans are genuinely clever kids and it was really fun to see them trying to outsmart Olaf and save themselves. What wasn’t fun was the baby, Sunny, saying a one or two-syllable non-words a few times every chapter and the author telling us what she meant by them. For example:

“Delmo!” Sunny offered, which probably meant something along the lines of “If you wish, I will bite the telephone to show you that it’s harmless.”

I didn’t mind it at first, but it’s gotten more frequent and also, annoying. And I still think the tone of the novel is a little patronizing, which is not helped by the frequent explain-the-meaning segments. I like this series and I’m eager to find out what will become of the kids, I just think there are some things we could do without. But those things do not include the alliterative names. I love those.


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