“A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window.”
By Lemony Snicket
Published in 2000 by HarperCollins Publishers, New York.
I don’t know if it’s necessary for me to state the genre, point of view and tone of voice for each book in the series, but to appease anyone who is picky about that sort of thing I’ll mention it. Genre: fantasy. Point of view: Lemony Snicket. Style of writing: informal.
The children move on to the third place where they hope to find happiness; Aunt Josephine’s home on the hill. I must say the author is very inventive in terms of finding crazy places for the children’s relatives to live. He is also annoying with naming things. As well as the long descriptions the deliberate name alliterations get a bit old. ‘Damocles Dock’, ‘Fickle Ferry’, ‘Lake Lachrymose’. This chap could potentially give Stan Lee a run for this money.
Disaster strikes early on in the story. The Count, this time disguised as ‘Captain Sham’, meets the children after only a couple of days at Aunt Josephine’s home. Like all other adults in the books, the childrens’ guardian seems oblivious to their warnings about the Count.
Aunt Josephine has a weird obsession with grammar, and is afraid of everything to the point where she abandons the children in an attempt to save herself. Not very good characteristics of a guardian. Even after the children find her, she is reluctant to go with them to explain to Mr. Poe, the banker, that she is in fact alive and Count Olaf a.k.a. Captain Sham can’t take the children away.
The children have to use their wits to figure out a way to find their aunt, and stop Count Olaf from adopting them.
There was a bit more character development in this story once more, and towards the end the book had a slightly more gradual finish, so it didn’t feel like it just stopped in the middle of a chapter. However, the adult characters in this series continue to amaze me with their stupidity. It makes me wonder whether children see adults this way. Whether they might think that we have our priorities wrong, or if this is just the work of a strange imagination?
It’s a really cool series for kids. These books are a great example of making do with what you’ve got, and not always getting what you want.
ps. For any readers who didn’t get the Stan Lee joke, he always names his characters using alliterations. Sue Storm, Stephen Strange, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Invincible Iron Man, Green Goblin, and the list just keeps on going.