What I learned from A Series of Unfortunate Events

When I was a child, I devoured Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Devoured is a word which here means "read as quickly as I could get my hands on the next copy from the library." 
Watching the new Netflix series, I've been blown away by how many things I learned from the series. The series is smart and clever. It manages to educate children without talking down to them. In my case, I didn't even realize I was being taught. I just enjoyed the fun quirky lessons like using the same page twice in a row to illustrate the feeling of deja vu.

I learned the difference between literal and figurative. I learned the difference between an optimist, a pessimist and a realist. I learned what dramatic irony is. I learned what deja vu means. I learned about mob mentality and crowd psychology. I learned that they are stiletto shoes and stiletto knives. I learned so many things that I didn't even realize I learned from those books until they popped back up in the episodes on Netflix. 

I learned something else very important that shaped my worldview. I learned that stories don't have to be happy or have good endings to be good stories or worthy of your time. Life is nuanced and good and bad and everything in between, and good literature should reflect that. In real life, Cinderella doesn't get to go to the ball. She has to stay home cleaning while the Prince falls in love with her Stepsister. Adults can't always be trusted. Bad things happen to good people and to bad people.

Essentially, that's what the new Netflix series captures that movie didn't. It is far more nuanced than the movie. Which only makes sense. The movie devoted 1.5 hours to three books while the show devotes at least an hour and a half to each book. 

As a "grown up," I am thankful for the chance to dwell in nostalgia and reminiscence on how much I delighted in these books as a child. If you have children, have them read these books.

If you need me, I'm trying to be a less useless adult than the ones in the Baudelaire's lives and following the advice of the Baudelaire's mother: Do the scary thing first and get scared after."

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