Where I rant about my drug of choice: YA books with strong female protagonists.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Violet and Sunny Baudelaire kick ass and take names in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events
I'm not gonna lie. I was totally inspired to write this post by this recent interview with Daniel Handler by Le R. I've been a long time fan of these horrible books by a mysterious man in good looking hats. It was only a matter of time before I subjected you to the horrors that are the lives of Violet and Sunny, the heroines who comprise two-thirds of the Baudelaire orphans.
I'm not going to even attempt to summarize all thirteen books in this dreadul series, and really, what would be the point? Half of what makes these books so amazing is the idiosyncratic voice of Lemony Snicket. Narrator, Author, character, detective, and heart-broken lover, Mr. Snicket tells a story the way no one else can. Sure, you'll find A Series of Unfortunate Events in the children's section of the bookstore, but Mr. Snicket's humor is meant for a mature mind. At times, I was apalled with myself for how much I laughed while reading such a tragic story.
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are at the beach one day when an incompetent Mr. Poe arrives to tell them that their home has burned down, killing their parents inside. The Baudelaire orphans then move in with Count Olaf who does horrible things to them, like make them cook dinner, lock them in cages, and attempt to marry Violet. For thirteen books these siblings are plagued by incompetent caregivers, evil kidnappers, grammar enthusiasts, circus performers, and several unfortunate events.
The Baudelaire's escape danger and survive tragedy only by their own cunning. Violet ties her hair up in a ribbon and invents things. Sunny has incredibly strong teeth for biting and eventually learns to cook.
With each villain thwarted, and each unpleasant circumstance escaped, the Baudelaire's grow. Violet goes from a timid girl to a strong young woman who experiences her first kiss along the side of a treacherous mountain on her way to the hidden headquarters for a secret organization. Sunny grows from a non-verbal baby with the tendency to bite, into a little girl with culinary aspirations.
I love the secrecy and clues in these books. I also love how--true to life--the kids are smarter than the adults. No one is there to save these kids but themselves. Despite all the horrible things that happen to them and all the opportunities they have to go to the dark side, these kids see the potential for wrong-doing within themselves and decide to keep doing what is right, no matter how difficult it is.
If you have yet to experience A Series of Unfortunate Events, I highly reccomend you put The Bad Beginning on the top of your to-read list.