Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Austere Academy - Lemony Snicket

The Austere Academy
By: Lemony Snicket
Published: 2000
Audiobook Read by: Lemony Snicket
My rating: Delightful

Ohhh....agony....misery....terrible horrificness! I weep....I wail....I heart bleeds for these poor unfortunate children and the execrable (a word which here means living in a filthy shack infested with tiny toe pinching crabs) conditions they are forced to live in!

In other words we really enjoyed this fifth installment of the wonderfully atrocious tale of the Baudelaire Orphans!

Mr. Poe has decided to change course and send the children to boarding school instead of trying to find another guardian for them. Apparently, there is a shortage of willing applicants in the guardian cue! Anyway, off they go to Prufrock Prep to further their education. Now, Prufrock Prep is no place for a child! The students there would be better off working in sweatshops I think! With Vice Principal Nero's six hour violin concerts, Mr. Remora's mindless stories, and Mrs. Bass' obsession with the Metric System, you would think the children unable to handle any additional calamity. However, wouldn't you know it, Count Olaf shows up (in disguise of course) to make things worse! Of course the children recognize him immediately, but do you think they can convince anyone else of his true identity? Well, they do! Finally they have made some friends, Duncan and Isadora, the Quagmire Triplets! These two are the first people the children have been able to turn to for a long time! But what will be the price of friendship with the doomed Baudelaires?

I think this book is my favorite so far. I have come to the conclusion that despite the intentional theme of woe and misfortune, there really does need to be some good things that happen, however minor they may be. The Quagmires are that "good thing" in this story. Their friendship and loyalty make all of the terrible things easier to bear for the orphans as well as the reader. This book also hints at a deeper more sinister plot that I assume will be developed further in future books. To coin a phrase; "The plot thickens!"

We listened to the audiobook read by Lemony Snicket. After three books, he still hasn't improved. His performance by no means ruins the book but we are very happy to find that Tim Curry will be doing the rest of the series!

Overall, this is yet another fun book in the series. Don't hesitate to give them a try, but start at the beginning to get the best sense of the storyline. As always, misery has never been so much fun! :)


  1. This story sounds like a good one. Those poor children. I wonder what will eventually befall them? Surely something will take a turn for the better soon,please. Blessings jane

  2. Well Jane, there are thirteen books in the series and I'm not sure if there will be a happy ending finally or not! It won't surprise me if there isn't! They're still a lot of fun even though! :)

  3. I liked this one. I really need to go back and finish the series. I never did find out what happened in the end.

  4. If there are 13 books, then I definitely did not read all of them. If this is the school story I read, then I liked it.
    I found that even in their first horrid adventure, the way the three children bonded together and thought of their parents and how that made a family, was just so sweet. Better emotional goodies than some books where nicer things happen.

  5. You are absolutely right, Nancy. They rely on each other and recognize each ones strengths to get them through all the hardships! They never let anything come between them or make them forget the love of their parents! It really is a good underlying message when you stop to think about it.