Status: Read from Jan 2 to Jan 4, 2016
My rating: / 5
Author: Lemony Snicket
You have undoubtedly picked up this book by mistake, so please put it down. Nobody in their right mind would read this particular book about the lives of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire on purpose, because each dismal moment of their stay in the village of V.F.D. has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these pages.
I can think of no single reason why anyone would want to open a book containing such unpleasant matters as migrating crows, an angry mob, a newspaper headline, the arrest of innocent people, the Deluxe cell, and some very strange hats.
It is my solemn and sacred occupation to research each detail of the Baudelaire children’s lives and write them all down, but you may prefer to do some other solemn and sacred thing, such as reading another book instead.
With all due respect,
Before coming to the review, let me tell you how I got my hands on this particular book.
I got his book as a gift from one of my very good friend. He has practically zero knowledge about books. He was in London and visited Waterstones (a leading retail company selling books, stationary and gifts). He was so confused that he could not decide what to pick as a gift for me from there. Next he went to Waterstones at Reading and he had to pick something from there. So he brought this book. But much later he realised that this is the 7th book of the series. He read this book just to see if this book will make any sense without reading the previous books in the series.
He gave this book to me and said, “I’m sorry, I brought the 7th book in the series. But don’t you worry as you will be able to understand everything well. I read it and checked. It’s a good book.”
I could only say one thing. “Really glad that finally you read at least one book.”
So, by now you would have understood that, I have not read any of the previous books in this series. But I jumped into this book the moment I got it. And as my friend had said, I had no problem in understanding the plot and the complete story line.
I liked the book. The orphaned siblings are sent by their banker Mr. Poe to the village VFD under a government aphorism, it takes a village raise a child. This village is very peculiar with thousands of ridiculous rules, made by the Council of Elders, to abide with and the penalty to break any rule is to be burned at stakes. The rules include ban on anything mechanical and ban on any books which have anything mechanical mentioned. Another peculiarity about the village is the movement of the crows.
In the village they stay with the handyman Hector and made to do the chores for the village. The children get on very well with Hector. But Hector is a coward, who cannot take a stand for what he believes. There the children get to put their skills on use. Violet fixes and improves Hector’s self-sustaining hot air mobile home. Klaus explores the hidden library at Hector’s home and finds the loop holes in the VFD rules. And Sunny finds the source of the puzzles.
They try to solve the puzzles to locate the Quagmires. The count of Olaf is back as detective Dupin to hunt the children to find the treasure. He puts them in jail. Violet uses her inventing skills to get them free from the jail. And by luck they are able to free the Quagmires.
The mystery here remained unsolved is, who is Jaques Snicket and what message he wished to give to the Baudelaire from their parents?
Things I liked about the book:
- The first thing that caught my eye was the illustrations (vignettes by Helquist).
- And second were the statements.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you live, and no matter how many people are chasing you, what you don’t read is often as important as what you do read.”
“Although, “jumping to conclusions” is an expression, rather than an activity, it is as dangerous as jumping off a cliff, jumping in front of a moving train, and jumping for joy.”
“Clearly, the solution to anything involving jumping is either to make sure you are jumping to a safe place, or not to jump at all.”
- There is use of so many words to build the vocabulary of children. Examples: skittish, nevermore, emphatically, pandemonium, nefarious etc.
- And concepts explained to children. Few examples: prone to error, a bolt from blue, jumping to conclusions, mob psychology, barking up the wrong tree, seemed like small potatoes.
The best quote in this book:
“It is true, of course, that there is no way of knowing for sure whether or not you can trust someone, for the simple reason that circumstances change all of the time. You might know someone for several years, for instance, and trust him completely as your friend, but circumstances could change and he could become very hungry, and before you knew it you could be boiling in a soup pot, because there is no way of knowing for sure.”