Review: The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket

“One of the most troublesome things in life is that what you do or do not want has very little to do with what does or does not happen.”

The Carnivorous Carnival
Title: The Carnivorous Carnival
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 9
Author: Lemony Snicket
Genre: Fiction, Children’s, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 286
Read: April 2016

the book | the author | the series

Dear Reader,

The word “carnivorous”, which appears in the title of this book, means “meat-eating”, and once you have read such a bloodthirsty word, there is no reason to read any further. This carnivorous volume contains such a distressing story that consuming any of its contents would be far more stomach-turning than even the most imbalanced meal.

To avoid causing discomfort, it would be best if I didn’t mention any of the unnerving ingredients of this story, particularly a confusing map, an ambidextrous person, an unruly crowd, a wooden plank, and Chabo the Wolf Baby.

Sadly for me, my time is filled with researching and recording the displeasing and disenchanting lives of the Baudelaire orphans. But your time might be better filled with something more palatable, such as eating your vegetables, or feeding them to someone else.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket


My thoughts:

For the first time in this series I actually had to take Snicket’s advice to stop reading and just pretend that everything worked out for the Baudelaires and the book had a happy ending. Finally, something relatively good has happened to them – the orphans discovered useful information about the V.F.D. and even met someone who is a member of the secret organization – I was afraid that in the next few pages this would be followed by several misfortunes and bad things, as it happened in the previous books. After a few hours I composed myself and said, “No. I need to be a strong girl and finish this.” And so I did. Of course you know how it ended.

Instead of going around trying to avoid Olaf, the orphans chose to stay within his grasp. With the paraphernalia they found inside the trunk of Olaf’s car, the Baudelaires disguised themselves and applied for a job at the carnival where Olaf was staying. They met and made friends with the freaks who were already working there. The freaks part here is slightly freaking me out because I’ve heard people with hunchbacks and contortionists branded as freaks (not that I’m okay with calling anybody a freak), but I’ve never heard of an ambidextrous person in a freak show. If anything, I’d be amazed (in a good way) to meet an ambidextrous person. It’s sad how society is quick to brand us as freaks just because there’s something with us that does not conform to its norm or standards – in this case having normal back, not being too flexible, and being left-XOR-right-handed.

With their disguises, the children spied on Olaf and his friend Madame Lulu. During their research, they met someone who is a member of the V.F.D. (the real one this time, finally!) and we learn a bit about the background of the secret organization, their disguises, and the schism that divided the volunteers. We also discovered how time and time again Olaf finds the whereabouts of the orphans.

Plus, the Baudelaires take time reevaluating themselves if they had indeed come to be villains like Olaf because of certain things they did. And somewhere between the lines, I realized that if you want to please everybody, you must be prepared to do both good and bad things altogether.

“We’ve all done things we never thought we’d do,” Violet said, “but we always had a good reason.”
“Everybody thinks they have a good reason,” Olivia said.

This got me thinking about certain things I did in the past and whether I actually had good reasons or I was just thinking that my reasons were right.

This is so far my favorite book in the series and I look forward to reading the succeeding books to see how everything ends.



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