A Series of Unfortunate Rereads: The Irksome Introduction


Allow me to preface this upcoming series of blog posts with a story. I started reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events in fifth grade, I believe. And by that I mean I first read The Wide Window, the third book in the series, because it was the only one available at the school library. (I went back and read the first two after that.)

I continued to read each book in the series religiously upon their release dates. I devoured them. I was obsessed. However, by the time the thirteenth and final book in the series, The End, was published in 2006, I was deep into my junior high school career and most likely “too good” for such children’s nonsense. Therefore, after years of consuming story after story about the Baudelaire orphans, I never. read. the. last. book.

For a few years now, I’ve found myself itching to find out how the series ends because, amazingly, I still haven’t been spoiled. However, every time I think about it, I remember that there are thirteen books, and even though they’re short, I can’t bring myself to invest the time and energy in starting from the beginning.

Then, shortly after the first season of the Netflix series came out a few months ago, I was faced with my own bookish miracle of sorts. I was struggling to focus at work one day and started searching through Overdrive for an audiobook to borrow from my library. And there it was: Lemony Snicket’s The Bad Beginning, the book that sparked my own bad beginning of a failed 13-book reading venture.

Now, I’ve never been an audiobook person. I’ve started quite a few of them, but I always find myself getting bored and distracted and eventually giving up and listening to music instead. But I thought I would give this a shot anyway. And once I realized that the first audiobook was only three hours long, I knew I’d found my niche.

I flew through the first book, and then was faced with another tragedy. While the third, fourth, and fifth books in the series were readily available for me to borrow, the second book had a queue of two other eager listeners. Dammit.

I tried waiting, but eventually gave up and started reading my own physical copy of The Reptile Room. And, in my own series of unfortunate events, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. I was a few chapters away from finished the book and BOOM, “your audiobook is ready to borrow.” Gee, thanks!

Anyway, I breezed through the next few audiobooks on my morning commute, before bed, and while accomplishing some of my less thinking-intensive tasks at work. At this point in time, I’m on the sixth book, The Ersatz Elevator. It’s been quite a ride, and I still haven’t hit any more waiting list roadblocks.

But that’s a story for another time. My next post will start the actual reviewing and discussion portion of the series with my thoughts on books one through five. I might also throw in some thoughts about the Netflix adaptation, but I’m trying to avoid that until I finish the books, because I think I might get spoiled.

Until then, I’ll be eagerly listening and trying not to go on angry rants about all the dumb adults in this series who don’t trust these three genius little kids.

Question: What are your thoughts on rereading your childhood favorites? Are you afraid going back to them will taint your existing thoughts?


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