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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The End by Lemony Snicket

Over the weekend, I was able to indulge in Lemony Snicket's The End.

It truly was a fitting end to the series. Thematically, the book ranks as my favorite. Daniel Handler explores the issue about whether parents are supposed to protect their children or prepare them to handle the treacheries of the world. He illustrated that those who wish to live in a totally safe environment may have to do so at the cost of their individuality and at the price of those passions which make life interesting.

Not all of the questions raised in the series are answered. The fate of the Quagmire triplets is somewhat unsatisfying, though Handler makes the point that we don't always know the fate of those who walk through our lives.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

The Baudelaire orphans have finally found a place in which they can be truly safe and live lives uncomplicated by treachery. It is a place that comes with a price, for if they want to possess this safety, they'll have to give up their individuality. Violet will have to sacrifice her inventing, Klaus will no longer be allowed to read, and Sunny while still being allowed to cook must stick with a pre-ordained, bland diet.

After the lives they've lived since The Bad Beginning the choice is not as obvious as it might seem. Here they've finally found people who can see through Count Olaf's lies and who are willing to protect them. Is giving up a few of one's passions really such a horrible thing to ask in exchange for kindness and safety?

In asking this question, Snicket brings to a close this chronicle with what may be the best book yet in the series. Yes, there are some familiar pieces in this book. The orphans are plopped down in a situation against their will and must adapt to a community that is different than all the others they've met so far. The community has its own catch phrase — as have most of the communities they've encountered thus far. This time it is "I won't force you, but..." and "I suggest..." and "Don't rock the boat."


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