My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After their awful experiences at a boarding school, the Baudelaire siblings are packed off to new guardians. These new guardians, Esme and Jerome Squalor have their lives ruled by the desire to be “in,” and what’s considered to be “in.” Because of this the Baudelaires find themselves taking stairs instead of the elevator, wearing plaid, and drinking aqueous martinis.
Despite the oddities of their guardians and their current lives with them, the Baudelaires find themselves beginning to grow fond of Jerome and to bond with him. This could be a place where the Baudelaires could find happiness. However, worries continue to haunt them. Where is Count Olaf? What did he do with the Quagmire Triplets? Will they ever find out what the VFD is? They miss their friends and long for everything to be resolved.
Soon, as usual, Count Olaf comes bursting into their life with an evil plan. He poses at the auctioneer Gunther, and although the Baudelaires are not sure what Olaf’s plan is, they know it’s diabolical! Will they find their friends? Will they be happy with the Squalors? Will Count Olaf ever come to justice?
This book is one of my favorites so far in the series. The whole concept of changing every thing based on what is “in” is completely ridiculous. (Imagine a restaurant called the Cafe Salmonella that only serves salmon!) Olaf’s plan is completely diabolical, and for once does not seem to involve any active harm coming to the Baudelaires. He does, however, plan for harm to happen to the Quagmire triplets, and is storing them in some sort of cage in the meantime. (Spoiler alert if you have sensitive children.)
As usual, Olaf is not apprehended and gets away with almost everything that he plans. Mr. Poe continues to be a blind idiot. Their guardian, Jerome, although quite fond of them elects not to remain their guardian by the end of the book.
Yet, more questions are raised that need answers. What is the real meaning of VFD? Why is there a tunnel connecting the Squalor penthouse to the fireplace in the burned down Baudelaire mansion? Where is Olaf taking the Quagmires? Will Olaf ever be caught? Will the Baudelaires ever find happiness? Who is Beatrice?
I look forward to reading the next one of these. Sometimes the individual unbelievable scenarios begin to annoy me, and then I still have so many questions (and more with each book) that I would like to find satisfying answers to that I continue to read in this series.