Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Miserable Mill - Lemony Snicket



The Miserable Mill
A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Fourth
Lemony Snicket
HarperCollins

Young Adult

Note: The best thing to do is start reading about the Baudelaire children’s terrible and sad adventures at THE BAD BEGINNING. If you haven’t read the previous books, this review contains spoilers. You have been warned.

This installment of the terribly sad tale of the Baudelaire orphans begins with the children in question on a train, arriving in Paltryville, where everything seems to be gray. They’ve been told to report to the lumber mill in town, where their latest guardian is waiting. When they arrive at the Lucky Smells Lumberyard, they find a letter, directing them to Foreman Flactuono. The Foreman immediately puts them to work, even though children should not be working in a dangerous place like a lumber mill.

They’re told that their new guardian, whose name no one can pronounce, will “try” to protect them from the evil Count Olaf, and they will repay this attempted kindness by working in the lumber mill until Violet comes of age. The children don’t think this is a fair deal, but they’re not in a position to complain. Charles, who is their guardian’s partner, tells them that, at least there’s a library on the premises. Sadly, there are only three books in the library, one of which is “Advanced Ocular Science.” This alarms the children because the image on the cover is exactly the same as the tattoo of an eye on Count Olaf’s ankle. To make things worse, just down the street, there’s a building that looks exactly like the tattoo. The children, who are quite intelligent, realize that Count Olaf is not far away.

No matter what happens, the children stick together and try to find something positive about their situation. Which, honestly, is no easy task. If you’ve been reading the horrible adventures of the Baudelaire orphans all along, you know that you should expect bad things to happen. If you haven’t been, and you like happy stories, you shouldn’t read these books at all. These books are good for children who like this sort of story, and fun for adults, too.

Rating: 8
Reissue
ISBN# 0-06-440769-1 (hardcover)

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