Don’t read this book if you like happy endings, loathe vicious threats, or if death unnerves you… The Lemony Snicket A Series of Unfortunate Events begins by warning readers away. There are no happy endings in this book. Don’t read it, the book warns…
And yet millions have, and movies and series have been created to spin off of this unfortunate story.
We’ve recently started reading the series — the bigger kids and I. My anxious kiddo doesn’t enjoy the uncertainty that a postmodern style of writing brings. And that’s okay. She’ll get bigger, and we can introduce it later.
Know your kids.
Postmodernism is an interesting topic to study in regards to literature, though, and I value the series for the conversations it’s sparked in the big kids. The postmodern style pushes the boundaries of how traditional stories are written. They blur the lines between reader and narrator, between fiction and reality. In a Series of Unfortunate Events, the narrator warns us not to read. He tells us that nothing good will come of the story, but readers are drawn in anyway because they hope that the narrator is wrong. They are pulled into the story in a way that makes it seem like they’re really a part of it.
They hope that they can change the outcome.
A Series of Unfortunate Events includes a plot featuring arson, death by fire, an attempted forced marriage, child abuse, and accidental dismemberment. The Baudelaire orphans’ lives become misery after their parents die in a fire.
Like the book, The Monster at the End of This Book, readers are invited into the story because the author talks directly to them. The cynicism, multi-layer plots, and surrealism helps kids see the world in new ways, and realize how great they actually have things.
We’re enjoying our exploration of the postmodern genre with these books:
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Monster at the End of This Book
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
Come Away From the Water, Shirley
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book?
The Jolly Postman and Other People’s Letters
A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix
To cap off our studies, we compared the books — A Series of Unfortunate Events — with the series on Netflix. It’s no secret that we love comparing books to movies and television series. I’ve shared about it a couple of times.
This new series on Netflix is a fantastic addition to our collection of literature adaptations. They’ve done a really great job. There are all sorts of cool things that devout readers of the stories will pick up on and be delighted by. Neil Patrick Harris is a horribly surreal Count Olaf, and the orphans are lovable.
Postmodern stories like this tend to ignite a love of literature in kids — and this series in particular highlights the good in being well-read. Innovative thinking and knowledge of stories is celebrated and when the kids are in doubt, they look for a book.
Do you have favorite kids’ books that push the envelope between realities? Share here.
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I’m a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam which means that I get to share the fun ways we using streaming video in our family and homeschool.