Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Beatrice Letters

The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket.

The Plot: Letters between Beatrice and Lemony Snicket.

The Good: This is Lemony Snicket; there are no such things as answers, just more questions. This book explores more of the mysteries of the Baudelaire universe.

Some of the letters are creased and folded notes; some are typewritten letters. The wit is in every line: All I can do is hope for the best, but hoping for the best, like hoping for a bat to obey your orders, almost always leads to disappointment.

I read this before reading The End; and so at one point, there was a big "huh?" A Beatrice Baudelaire with family members Violet, Klaus, and Sunny? Clearly there are two Beatrices. There are also two letters; the written letters, but also letters than can be popped out and arranged and rearranged.* And the letters show two Beatrices; one a friend of Lemony, another a stranger seeking help: I have heard rumors of your research and have dozens of questions as well as a piece or two of constructive criticism.

I haven't read The End yet, but I cannot help but wonder if this is giving a hint at a new series, a new mystery, a new series of unfortunate events.

Also good: wonderful wordplay: I will love you if you drop your raincoat on the floor instead of hanging it up and I will love you if you betray your father. Let's examine: I will love you despite habits that bug and I will love you despite betraying your father...or is it I will love you only when you betray your father? And who is your father?

Finally, the packaging is awesome. It looks like a file folder, with one space holding the book and another space holding a poster.

Is this a must read for Snicket fans? Absolutely.

*Let me tell you; my niece, the struggling reader, adored this book. Yes, it had to be read to her, and a lot of it was abridged in reading because she hasn't read the others. What happened is Queen Lucy was over, saw this, was enticed by the packaging, and then totally fell for the letters getting popped out of the pages. Where I had kept it all just so, she had to undo them and did each one carefully without a tear. Then, with only a bit of help, she decoded the message as Beatrice Sank. Yes, this book is way ahead of her; but it is teaching her that unlike the readers they have at school, reading is fun. Reading is active.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the Beatrice Letters. Especially the letters from the young, new Beatrice -- wasn't she kind of sassy?

It reminded me of a book I owned years ago, where it was entirely letters like that, in envelopes even. Now I wish I could remember the name of that other book.

Anyhow, my theory is that the next series from Snicket will be from the perspective of the Quagmire triplets. That could be a romping good time, especially watching how Snicket overlaps them.