Lemony Snicket’s ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’

a series of unfortunate events

Many people have requested me to share what books I like to read. Well, over a period of time, I will be posting my favourite books on my blog. I’ll start off today with something written by one of my favourite authors.

‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’ is written by Daniel Handler under his pen name ‘Lemony Snicket’. It is one of the best fictional works I’ve ever read! Mystery is one of my favourite genres, and here, Snicket has really pulled it off.

lemony snicket

There’s just the right amount of action, suspense and humour, making it an enjoyable experience to read. There’s clear distinction between the characters, so you’ll know who’s like what without having to struggle. ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’ also contains surprising plot twists, guaranteed to make the story even more interesting! It’s also similar to a dictionary because of its high vocabulary, and it will enrich your word bank! Here’s part of one of Snicket’s books:

“My, my, my, my, my,” said a voice from behind them, and the Baudelaire orphans turned to find Stephano standing there, the black suitcase with the shiny silver padlock in his hands and a look of brummagem surprise on his face. “Brummagem” is such a rare word for “fake” that even Klaus didn’t know what it meant[…].

-The Reptile Room (2 of 13 books)

Chapter 7

You can see an example of his use of rare words in this part of a book. So if you haven’t heard of ‘brummagem’ before, you’ll find it in ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’! Another impressive aspect of Snicket’s writing is the figurative language. This feature really paints a clear image in the reader’s head, adding to the brilliance of the story.

The illustrator Lemony Snicket worked with, Brett Helquist, also produced stunning drawings, so we have a better understanding of what things look like in the story. The pair make a story that is truly unforgettable!

movie poster

Other than reading the books, I have also watched both the movie and the TV series adaptions. However, I prefer the books over the movies as they have much more detail. It’s easier to understand what the characters are thinking and better to incorporate suspense as it is told from certain characters’ perspective. In the movie, you would be able to know what was happening as you could see all around. There are also more ways that humour can be incorporated in through the narration, not just the action of the characters.

book collection

Overall, ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’ is a great collection of books and if you’re looking for something adventurous to read, it is definitely the best to start with. It’s not too fast, not too slow, and there are some brilliant writing ideas to find! Lemony Snicket has nailed mystery and dark comedy with this story – out of 5, I would rate it 5 stars! Watch out for my next posts: I’ll be sharing more on what books I’ve read!

“There are those who say that life is like a book, with chapters for each event in your life and a limited amount of pages on which you can spend your time. But I prefer to think that a book is like a life, particularly a good one, which is well worth staying up all night to finish.”

-Lemony Snicket

*Media Source: Google Images*

He Came Back To Cornwall

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He came back to Cornwall.

He came back from the war with a bloody arm, a bandaged leg and a few scars on his face. He came back from the war to find his dear family in their little village. He came back from the war, but he wasn’t expecting this.

The year was 1919. After spending a few more months in London, he finally decided to travel back to his hometown. He needed to feel warmth again, he needed to feel love and happiness, and his lovely little Cornwall was just the place for that.

Lugging his rucksack on his back, he walked into St Mawes, not knowing what to expect when he knocked on the door of his house. Maybe shouts of his name or crying or laughing and hugging. He walked through the streets filled with desolate but running shops, and many grey houses. They were tilted and uneven, like buildings from a fairy tale.

He walked further into the village, people eyeing him strangely as they passed him. Then he found it. Right in front of him was his childhood home, still standing as it had been 27 years ago.

Shuffling nervously up to the wooden door, he gave it a slow tap, creating a deep, hollow sound. There was a sudden scrambling inside, and then the lock clicked. The door creaked open, and the face of a middle-aged woman, wet with tears, met him. It was his mother, and as he looked over her shoulder, he spotted his father, sister and brother.

Hastily, his mother wiped her tears away. “Oh, hello,” she sniffled, “Um, who are you?”

He was puzzled. Why wouldn’t his own mother remember him? “It’s me, Mum. Your son!”

“Son?” she repeated, “My dear boy, you must be mistaken!”

“Who is it?” his father coughed.

“It’s a young man. He’s come back from the war. He says he’s our son!”

“Son? Poor thing, you can’t be! It’s all that war business getting to your head! Old Matthew, he…he, um, he died.”

Surely this was a dream, or some kind of practical joke! How would his own family forget him, and, what’s more, say that he was deceased? He simply couldn’t believe it.

“But…” he whispered, “But I’m Matthew!”

“Matthew was killed at the start of the war by a bomb in London.” his mother said firmly but not unkindly. “Do come in though, dear. You must be worn out!”

Silently, he stepped through the doorway, shutting the door behind him. “Thank you.” he murmured.

“This is Sarah and John.” his mother said, gesturing to his sullen-faced brother and sister. He did not respond.

Later on, they all sat down at the table in the kitchen, which was very familiar to Matthew. They had a dinner of corned beef and morsels of bread, and then they all retired to their bedrooms.

He had some trouble dozing off, and it seemed like a few seconds when he woke up again, realising that something was shaking his side. He widened his eyes and turned his head, only to find his ginger cat, Oliver. It was early dawn, and it would need feeding. He got up and walked into the kitchen, the floor making the occasional creak. Then he remembered. Oliver had died before the war.

He dropped the bowl he was holding onto the floor. It made a loud crash, sure to wake someone up. He turned around. The cat was not there. Frantically, he ran up the hallway to the other bedrooms, not finding anyone. He ran outside, meeting with cold, icy air biting into his cheeks. The village looked deserted. Then he saw something coming up the street. Oliver. He was dazed, confused, not understanding what was happening. He turned back to return to the house, only to be pushed to the floor by another man. It was his father, and he was armed with a gun.

“Heil Hitler.” he whispered. The family followed: “Heil Hitler!”

Then the father pulled the trigger, and then it was the end. If only he hadn’t felt the urge to come back home. If only he was ordered to stay in London. But he still arrived. He came back to Cornwall.

You Cannot Tell

you cannot tell ph2

I first saw him in the window of my living room. He was wearing a worn out, black bowler hat and a brown leather coat. His eyes were illuminated on his dark, shadowy face. He was carrying what seemed to be a blade. Other people would have been terrified but I just stood there, sort of transfixed by his appearance. He came the next night, this time looking into the kitchen. A red rose replaced the knife in his hand. I wondered why he was coming to my house. Perhaps he was homeless. It was 7 days later when I started to become worried, though. He had been coming to my house and looking through the windows for a whole week and on Monday he had come with a knife again – it had blood stains on the tip. I thought about calling the police, but would that make me his next victim? I shuddered. I decided to stay put in my bedroom, lock all the doors and shut all the curtains. I soon dozed off.

you cannot tell ph3

The next morning, I was no longer in my bedroom. I was on the floor of my living room. A chalk outline surrounded me. Nobody else was there. I was very confused. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something come out of the wall. It was shadowy, scruffy, a tall figure looming like a tower. I turned around and saw that it was the man that I had seen in the window, pale-faced and untidy. He was holding the same blood-stained knife; it glinted faintly in the dim light. He gave me an icy stare, then leapt at me. His knife jutted out and he cried out in rage. I screamed and rolled over to dodge him, the knife swishing past and narrowly missing my head. He dived through the floor, like it was some kind of eerie wooden swimming pool. I crawled backwards to the sofa, bewildered as to where he was. Suddenly, he sprang out, shouting in anger. His face was nearly scarlet, his scruffy eyebrows highly slanted. I flinched as he flew through the air towards me. His coat was splattered with flecks of blood. I wanted to move but it seemed like I was glued to where I was. He brushed my shoulder, but as soon as he laid his hand on me, a bright white light lit up the room. The man howled as his hand glowed red. It must have burned, seared, split his palm open. Slowly, he started to disappear, like smoke wafting away from its chimney. Oh, how he shrieked! The sound echoed around the room. It rang inside my ears, it slowly mauled my brain. I closed my eyes tightly, nearly gluing them shut. When I reopened them, I was alone in the room. Everything was silent. No blood. No knife. No hat. No man. Just me, in the room of the house. I could hear police sirens wailing outside. They reminded me of banshees, sobbing in mourning. Apparently, my neighbour had heard the screaming and shouting.

you cannot tell ph4

From then on, I was alone in my house. No one came to visit, no one stood outside the windows. But one day, the doorbell rang, and outside was a black bowler hat, a rose, a knife and a note:

‘You cannot tell.’

you cannot tell ph1