The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4) by Lemony Snicket

December 29, 2017
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To be considered miserable, you would have to be extremely unhappy or upset.  Someone so upset that the five-letter word was not enough, thus the word: miserable. Almost everyone has a miserable day. You wake up late for school or work, stub your toe, have a cold shower, only to find out it is raining and that you did not bring your umbrella. With cold soup for lunch and a burnt dinner, all you can think is tomorrow must be better as nothing can be worse than that. Violet, Klaus, and maybe even Sunny. had those days where their book was not interesting, their inventions not working, there was nothing left to bite. The Baudelaire children always had their parents to talk to, whom always listened and try to make their sad children happy. Yet they are no longer here, forcing Klaus, Sunny and Violet to move around from one horrible guardian to the next, while trying to keep out of the grasp of Count Olaf who wants their fortune and the children dead.

With the death of Uncle Monty and Aunt Josephine, the children travel to their next guardian by train with Mr. Poe. They were going to live with their guardian (no relation mentioned) Sir (because no one could pronounce his last name) the owner of Lucky Smells Lumber Mill. Receiving the memo, the children were told by Sir that they would live and get fed, but had to work at the lumber mill (all three of them) until Violet comes of age and she can legally take her siblings away with her. The dormitories were awful, cement block with no windows (except for a drawing that was made to look like one) the employees were fed gum for lunch and only got paid in coupons. Day in day out the three siblings did the hard-manual labor that no child should do, wondering where was Olaf. No surprise they eventually found him, high heel, stockings, and lipstick receptionist at the local eye doctors, who (like the other times) insistent the children call him Shirley. When Klaus becomes unreliable, it is up to Violet (and Sunny if you want to count her) to think like her brother to save them, the mill, and their lives.

Lemony Snicket plot soon grows cold in your stomach as the same cycle of bad things happen to the children, now the fourth time in a row. With the same third person storytelling, Snicket repeatedly stops to explain longer words, and stops just at the climax to talk about something unimportant. The only part that truly stands out was when Violet sasses Charles when he was telling her that Sir had a terrible childhood, she responded with: “I think I’m having a very terrible childhood myself.” Priceless. With the children running out of guardians, Sir who was horrible in every way, might be their last. With Olaf never far behind, how far will these children have to run to escape his clutches, or if the world is even big enough to hide from the eye that is everywhere.

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