Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Series of Unfortunate Events ... Ends

Ria and I read the final book in The Series of Unfortunate Events by "Lemony Snicket" this past weekend. We were introduced to the series by a relative last Christmas, whipped through all twelve books and eagerly awaited the last installment, which was released last Friday. The stories relate the misadventures of three orphaned children who are constantly pursued by an evil villain and constantly let-down by adults who should have helped them but were blinded by various faults and inclined to trust the villain rather than the children. Some great points mixed in here!

They're rather strange stories, but we found a lot to like - particularly the author's love of language and poetry and his funny way with words. The books were fun and interesting on the whole. But the final book was a bit of a let-down - definitely anti-climactic in comparison with Book 12. Mostly some moral wrestling with various points - important, but not particularly well-developed - on the part of the orphans and a number of questions left unanswered. (like the sugarbowl!)

There were a few parts along the way that we didn't care for - particularly a part in the 7th book (if I remember right) that seemed to be an insult to Our Lady - it was impossible to be quite sure what his intentions were, but it still felt like quite a slap in the face.

The final book had some odd symbolism, but the author didn't seem to do anything in particular with it. The one that stood out the most (but nothing like the part in the 7th book I mentioned earlier) was a scene in which a friendly snake brings apples from a forbidden tree to people who needed it as an antidode to poison. This seemed a little strange, and couldn't have been accidental, but it really didn't seem to mean anything at all since the one who made the rules was a rather-flawed leader of a utopia-like (perhaps even cult-like) community.

I suppose there's probably something I missed, but I don't have quite enough interest to go back and re-read all thirteen books again. Sigh. The quite enjoyable process of reading through them and sharing and discussing them with Ria leaves me with no regrets, though.


Nancy C. Brown said...

We felt let down by the last book, as well. It just doesn't have a satisfying ending. It seemed as though "Life is a series of unfortunate events, so just deal with it" isn't that great of an ending.

However, we, like you, still enjoyed the series. We just don't think it will go down in history as a series people will remember. Definitely not a classic.

Shauna said...

I was really disappointed with the supposed ending as well because I enjoyed the series so much as a whole. It seemed to me like Daniel Handler wasn't sure how to resolve some of the mysteries so he just dismissed them with a cop-out. I'm still curious about the sugar bowl!