Review of THE WIDE WINDOW by LEMONY SNICKET
(third in the A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS series)
The bad luck streak continues for the poor Baudelaire orphans. After their sweet uncle Monty died in the last book, they’re being shipped off to another even more distant relative. Josephine means well, but she’s no ideal guardian. She’s too timid, fearful, and concerned with her own well being to look after or out for three grieving children being pursued by an evil mastermind.
Many of my comments on this series remain consistent from book to book, my main one being that all the adults are incompetent. The level of hyperbolized incompetency can be frustrating, but ultimately I consider it a therapeutic metaphor for any child who feels adults aren’t taking them seriously. And the fact that no one listens to the Baudelaires forces them to be resourceful.
One criticism that’s a bit new to this specific installment in the series, though, is that there’s some pretty transparent phobia about gender ambiguity. One of Count Olaf’s lackeys is described from book one as a person who can’t beg pegged as either man or woman. That description alone can be interpreted as objective or prejudiced depending on how you read it, but in this book that fact is specifically cited as one of the scarier characteristics of this person.
Each of these books is a fast, simple read that follows a similar formula: Baudelaires go to new home and then it all goes horribly wrong. Along the way, you’ll encounter plenty of witty, subtle jokes that make each story well worth the read.