“At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.”
― Lemony Snicket
I’ve only recently started watching season 2 of the Netflix show “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. I read the books again and, yes, they’re still my favorite children’s books. I think the stories are quite profound and the author managed to make the book readable for people of all ages. Like Hope for the Flowers, it has hidden layers you would appreciate and uncover at different points of your life.
I think the book is an ode to childhood in that it highlights how children can be quite wise in their simple, pure way, and that adults can be pretty foolish. My favorite book in the series (and also in the Netflix series) is The Ersatz Elevator. It shows how misplaced the priority of adults can sometimes be, and how the need to measure up and be perceived as successful through whatever changing standards are of a very fickle society can be very oppressive. It highlights the propensity of adults to miss the point of living, and of being blinded and impressed by all the wrong things.
The books also approaches the very sensitive subject of bereavement, of being orphaned, in a very interesting way. I believe that the message resonates not just with actual orphans but also with children who are lonely. Those who feel alienated, who feel like they are not accepted by others, like they don’t fit in. Those who see the world as cold and friendless. It’s a series of books that approaches the topic in an honest and intelligent way. Not everybody will like you, or listen to you, or understand you and be compassionate towards you, but if you’re brave enough to continue to venture out, you can discover that the world does contain good people too.
The Baudelaires do have advocates, they just take a long time to come around. Count Olaf (brilliantly portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris in the series) is such a formidable foe. He inspires fear and frustration because he’s resourceful, devious, (somewhat) charming in his own repulsive way, and he has a posse blindly devoted to him. He’s even more formidable because he’s aided by the indifference and incompetence of adults around the orphans.
I also love how the book encourages readers to continue reading books. I love how new words are taught and how readers are encouraged to expand their vocabulary. I love that the writer highlights how informed, educated, curious people stand out from the crowd of followers. They are tolerant, kind, and they have open, beautiful minds. They are the kindred spirits of the Baudelaires, and they are not easily fooled or influenced by Count Olaf.
If you haven’t read the books yet, I highly recommend them.