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Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (A Series of Unfortunate Events) Paperback – May 6, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography is bizarre, abstruse ("a word which here means 'cryptic'"), and truly entertaining. Would you expect anything less from the mystery man behind A Series of Unfortunate Events (The Bad Beginning, The Ersatz Elevator, etc.)? Virtually every detail of the volume has Snicket's indelible mark, from the book jacket (reversible to help readers disguise this "extremely dangerous" and "objectionable" autobiography) to the copyright page text to the intentionally blurry and bewildering black-and-white photographs appearing throughout. An apparently false obituary for Lemony Snicket sets the stage for what turns into a series of mind-boggling bundles of coded information passed from hand to hand, gleaned from newspapers blowing through streets, pages from a journal addressed to "Dear Dairy," blueprints of ships, minutes from secret meetings, and a lot of edited and disputed commentary. The question is, do we finally discover the meaning of VFD? You know you're not going to get a straight answer. But any fan of Snicket will have a lot of fun trying. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A certain maniacal glee went into the creation of this archly humorous volume. Beginning with the suggestion on the front flap of the dust jacket to disguise its dangerous contents (Make use of this book's reversible jacket immediately), readers will know they're in possession of something deliciously left of normal. The jacket reverses to display a hilarious parody of Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events covers, entitled The Pony Party! and featuring The Luckiest Kids in the World! by Loney M. Setnick. Meanwhile, the contents lead readers on a merry goose chase. The 13 (naturally) chapters burst with red herrings, non sequiturs, mysterious letters, diary entries and so on not to mention fading black-and-white photographs with captions such as Total strangers and W?H?O? The narrative makes for a most satisfying tease, larded with such Snicketisms as For various reasons, portions of this chapter have been changed or made up entirely, including this sentence. It would seem that Snicket's obituary from the highly unreliable Daily Punctilio (which is reproduced in the book) is premature, and that there will indeed be more installments about the Baudelaires, though nothing is certain in the end and readers are left nearly as in the dark about Snicket as they were at the start. Of course, this is all part of the fun, guaranteed to make the author's fans itch to get their hands on a copy of this devious romp masquerading as an autobiography. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (May 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060562250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060562250
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lemony Snicket claims he was nowhere near the scene of the crime. He is the author of several other unpleasant stories, including those in the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Lump of Coal.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 111 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 22, 2004
Format: Library Binding
There are few sounds in this world that please me quite as much as to be working at the children's reference desk of my library and to hear a parent's reaction to the title of this book. When their small ward picks it up and offers it to them, there is sometimes a definite pause before the parent says aloud, "Wait... unauthorized autobiography? That's not possible". It's one of the perks of my job. I first bought and read this book in 2002 after reading only four books in "A Series of Unfortunate Events". I can tell you right here and now that that was a huge mistake. Not the buying the book part, but the reading it after having only reviewed four of the books in the series. I've since then read the rest of the books currently published and, prior to reading this, I suggest you do the same. Though the book will make a bit of sense here and there, you're really only going to understand it fully after you've at least gotten through, "The Slippery Slope". Just a warning.

Now this book is unlike any other you're likely to come across. And though paperback editions of this puppy exist, I'm telling you right here and now that it is worth the extra money to buy the hardback. If you get the paperback you're missing out on one of the greatest publishing operations available to child readers everywhere. The cover of this book is reversible so that if your enemies should notice it in your hands, you can make them think that you're simply perusing Lenoy M. Setnick's, "The Pony Party" (part of "The Luckiest Kids in the World!" series). Inside, the book's a devilishly clever collection of stories, bits of correspondance, burned newspaper articles, lost telegrams, and various mysterious photographs.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By J.A. VINE VOICE on September 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
At one point during the reading of this book I was sorely tempted to sit down with pencil and paper and try to pull together the astonishing number of clues that were being dropped like biting nails on every page. In the end I decided that I had better things to do - but that only means that I was busy doing other things, and not that it wouldn't have been interesting or worthwhile.

This book contains the same wit that makes A Series of Unfortunate Events so powerfully readable, and it is absolutely full of clues regarding V.F.D, from who is in it, what its function is, and hints at what caused the schism.

When I put the book down I couldn't help but be amazed at the brilliance at work here. It's a story within a story within a one mirror directed at another, its depth is endless.

It seems fairly obvious what V.F.D. stands for, given the clues we have, but knowing "Lemony Snicket" and the delight he takes in confusing situations, I highly doubt that it will be that simple. Heck, Count Olaf might turn out to be the good guy in all of this! Who knows?

The inside cover of the dust jacket was hilarious. "Lemony Snicket" really has a terrific sense of humor. I'm very, very grateful that these books were published; they are an absolute joy to read.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 2002
Format: Library Binding
The title of this book is a bit misleading. Don't expect to get the life story of Lemony Snicket- what you're going to get is a bunch of documents and photographs in the style of the "messages to the editor" that Snicket leaves in the back of each of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. This book is basically a collection of a lot of different sources that give you hints as to what V.F.D. might be, and some glimpses into the life of Snicket. This book DEFINITELY does not stand on its own... only readers of the Series of Unfortunate Events will understand it. In fact, this book would be a total waste of time even for readers of the Unfortunate Events series except that this book is extremely funny. If you're a fan of the past books, this one'll make you roll with laughter. And don't forget to take the jacket of the book off... there's even a joke involved with that. All in all, if you're an Unfortunate Events fan who can't wait for the next book to come out, this'll hold you over just fine.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 1, 2002
Format: Library Binding
How can you describe "The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket"? I know a lot of people don't like this book. I know they think it is dumb, boring, or just doesn't give them enough information about anything.
Let me tell you something. This book is probably anything but that. First, read the Series of Unfortunate Events up to #8 (Which is what I'm up to, I hope to get 9 soon!). If you don't read any of them, or even just skip one, YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND THIS BOOK.
Second, read this book as many times as you need to, and don't skip anything! Even read the index! I have so far read this book 3 times, and still want to read it again. Every time I find more and more interesting things- such as Daniel Handler is shown in the book!
Who is Daniel Handler? He's "Lemony Snicket's Representative". Even though Lemony Snicket is fictional, the best thing to do while reading this book is to pretend he's real. If you don't, you may find yourself getting disinterested.
I was somewhat disappointed the first time that I didn't find anything out about who Beatrice is (ahh! stupid page 211!) but after looking through it again, I learned a lot! Hint: Mozart's Fourteenth Symphony. I myself can only hum Ode To Joy, Beethoven's 9th Symphony...but anyway, back to the book!!
If you buy this, I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope I won't offend anyone with this, but you have to have a "logical" mind that can pierce things together. If you don't, don't bother reading this book- you'll be lost completely.
I hope I've helped you decide whether or not to read this book! I enjoyed it a lot. I wish I could join VFD! And what is VFD, anyway? A Very Funky Disco! Wait... A Vascular Funnel Digest! Wait....Oh, well, I don't know what VFD is...well, actually I don't know what the initials are! I just know what it is, a few places it used to be, and how to join it...If you excuse me now, I think I just heard a page turning outside...
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