The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

In continuing this series, I noticed a major difference between the books and the movie. The movie laid the groundwork for a sequel and began developing a subplot of secret societies locked in mortal conflict. As the movie covered the first three stories in this series, I assumed that I would find the beginnings of this plot in The Reptile Room or even in The Wide Window. So far, there hasn’t been any indication of secret orders dedicated to good or evil in the books. Judging from prufrock’s review of the final book here, I suspect that I will soon find this secret world of intrigue in later books. We shall see…

Usually, when a movie is adapted from a book, the movie does little justice to the book (though there is a trend toward a more accurate representation in recent years). The movie covered The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window. In writing the script, the authors did an excellent job of remaining true to the books while turning the serial stories into a stand alone plot (that allowed for but didn’t necessitate a sequel). When you consider the literary devices used to tie the books together for the movie and the changes that had to be made to formulate the movie, I would argue that the scriptwriters did a fantastic job and should be awarded for their skill. But enough of that….

The Wide Window features a bit more of the same, which is not to say that it is boring, just not quite as fresh and unique as the first two were. It became a bit predictable (though I am probably biased by having seen the movie first). I must say though that I thought that Aunt Josephine was an interesting character.

Aunt Josephine fears everything to the point that she has almost stopped living. She prohibits the children from touching the glass doorknobs, turning on the radiators or the stove, and will not let them near the refrigerator, near the dreadful lake Lacrimose with its deadly leeches and most of all, she fears the dreaded evil Realtor. Any one of those could lead to an accident which would be dreadful. The ironic part is that Josephine lives high above the lake in a house that overhangs the lake. Her house has a massive window (i.e. the wide window) overlooking the fearsome lake. The one positive of Josephine is her love of grammar. She passionately adores anything regarding grammar. Snicket uses her love of grammar to encourage the reader to appreciate the English language more. In a desperate attempt to give the children a secret message, Josephine uses grammatical inconsistencies and errors to tell the children where she is hiding from Captain Sham (Count Olaf).


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