Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

Overview

Lemony Snicket's work is filled with bitter truths, like: 'It is always cruel to laugh at people, of course, although sometimes if they are wearing an ugly hat it is hard to control yourself.' Or: 'It is very easy to say that the important thing is to try your best, but if you are in real trouble the most important thing is not trying your best, but getting to safety.'

For all of life's ups and downs, its celebrations and its sorrows, here is a book to commemorate it all – ...

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Overview

Lemony Snicket's work is filled with bitter truths, like: 'It is always cruel to laugh at people, of course, although sometimes if they are wearing an ugly hat it is hard to control yourself.' Or: 'It is very easy to say that the important thing is to try your best, but if you are in real trouble the most important thing is not trying your best, but getting to safety.'

For all of life's ups and downs, its celebrations and its sorrows, here is a book to commemorate it all – especially for those not fully soothed by chicken soup. Witty and irreverent, Horseradish is a book with universal appeal, a delightful vehicle to introduce Snicket's uproariously unhappy observations to a crowd not yet familiar with the Baudelaires' misadventures.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Laura Woodruff
"Life is a turbulent journey, fraught with confusion, heartbreak, and inconvenience. This book will not help." So begins, in typical Snicket fashion, this little book of pithy reflections designed to simultaneously entertain, amuse, and depress thoughtful readers. The first and longest of the entries is a five-page short story about a woman who leaves her horseradish patch, makes an unsuccessful journey to find the meaning of life, and returns to find her husband, with her mother's blessing, marrying her former schoolteacher. The following entries are brief, usually single-sentence thoughts, divided into thirteen sections, including home, family, work, affairs of the heart, and "an overall feeling of doom that one cannot ever escape no matter what one does." At the bottom of each page is a black-and-white profile of a man (Lemony?), at first walking, and at the end, running madly, a visual symbol of the Horseradish message about life's futility and failure. This book might be enjoyed by sophisticated teen readers who have enjoyed the "unfortunate events" series and are well acquainted with pseudonymous Daniel Handler's style. This offering is a quick and easy read that people will either love or hate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061240065
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is often despondent, mostly about his published research, which includes A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Composer Is Dead.

Biography

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end -- and, in the case of Lemony Snicket, all unfortunate things must come to an end, too. After seven years and thirteen episodes, the much beloved A Series of Unfortunate Events books are drawing to a close. At least, that's what Snicket's "handler" Daniel Handler says.

But before getting to what promises to be "the most unfortunate event of all," it is first necessary to familiarize oneself with the mysterious man who created a mega-selling series of children's novels pivoting on the premise of placing young people in peril. According to his autobiography Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, Snicket "grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. His trial has been delayed, so he is free to continue researching and recording the tragic tales of the Baudelaire orphans." Hmmm. Perhaps an autobiography purporting that it may or may not be true isn't the best place to begin.

Instead, let us focus on Daniel Handler, the man who might actually be responsible for composing the Series of Unfortunate Events books according to certain skeptics (which include Handler, himself). Daniel Handler has been asked many times why anyone would want to make a career of chronicling the ghastly trials of a trio of ill-fated orphans. "When I was young, my favorite stories were not the sort of children's books that are constantly being thrust at you when you're little," he explained in an audio essay on Barnes & Noble.com. "I didn't like books where people played on a sports team and won a bunch of games, or went to summer camp and had a wonderful time. I really liked a book where a witch might cut a child's head off or a pack of angry dogs might burst through a door and terrorize a family. So, I guess it should not be surprising that when I turned to children's literature I tried to think of all sorts of interesting things to happen to small children, and all of these things were pretty dreadful."

Handler has long made it clear that his wildly popular series would be limited to thirteen installments. The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth finds the much-beleaguered Baudelaire orphans "enjoying" a family vacation at a menacing hotel, and Handler is wrapping up his saga with The End: Book the Thirteenth, which promises to tie up all remaining threads in the story in an undoubtedly exciting manner.

However, the conclusion of his series is no indication that Handler plans on bringing his writing career to an end. He has also written adult-targeted titles under his own name, including his latest, Adverbs: A Novel. This exploration of love, which Publishers Weekly deemed "lovely" and "lilting," may forgo the trademark Lemony Snicket wry morbidity, but Handler ensures readers that the book isn't without its own unfortunate events. "It's a fairly miserable story, as any story about love will be," he says. "People try to find love -- some of them find it, some of them don't, some of them have an unhappy time even if they do find it -- but it is considerably more cheerful than any of my so-called children's books."

Good To Know

Daniel Handler has a potentially embarrassing confession to make: he is an avowed accordion player. Handler says that when he told his parents about his decidedly uncool musical pursuits, they reacted "as if I had taken up heroin."

His interest in music does not end with the accordion. Close friend and leader of indie-rock band The Magnetic Fields Steven Merritt has written an original song for each audio book version of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Merritt and Handler will be releasing a CD of all 13 "dreadful" songs when the final installment of the series is published in late 2006. Handler also lent his accordion-laying talents to The Magnetic Fields' critically acclaimed album 69 Love Songs.

Handler's persistence may rival that of the never-say-die Baudelaire orphans. His first novel, The Basic Eight, was rejected 37 times before it was finally published.

He enjoys the work of novelist Haruki Murakami so much that Handler devoted an entire essay to the subject in the plainly and guilelessly entitled Village Voice review, "I Love Murakami."

According to a former high school classmate writing in the local paper, Handler was "voted not only Class Clown, but also Best Actor, Chatterbox, and Teacher's Pet."

A few fun facts from our interview with Handler:

"I can cook anything."

"I know one very good card trick."

"I auditioned for an enormous role in the film Gigli."

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    1. Also Known As:
      In some parts, people get to know him through his handler, Daniel Handler.
    2. Hometown:
      Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 28, 1970
    2. Place of Birth:
      Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.
    1. Education:
      Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
    2. Website:

First Chapter

Horseradish
Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

Chapter One

Home

The difference between a house and a home is like the difference between a man and a woman—it might be embarrassing to explain, but it would be very unusual to get them confused.

There is something marvelous about returning home at the end of a long day, even if there is tuna fish for dinner.

There are some people who believe that home is where one hangs one's hat, but these people tend to live in closets and on little pegs. An old cowboy song celebrates home on the range, where deer and antelope play, but anyone who has seen deer and antelope knows that when they are frolicking they scarcely look where they are flinging their hooves, which is why cowboys have been pummeled almost to extinction.

It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches.

One's home is like a delicious piece of pie you order in a restaurant on a country road one cozy evening—the best piece of pie you have ever eaten in your life—and can never find again. After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up, and no matter how many times you visit you may never quite cure yourself of the fluttery, homesick feeling in your stomach. Homesickness can even strike you when you are still living at home, but a home that has changed over the years, and you long for the time—even if such a time existed only in your imagination—when yourhome was as delicious as you remember. You may search your family and your mind—just as you might search dark and winding country roads—trying to recapture the best time in your life, so that you might cure your homesickness with a second slice of that distant, faraway pie, but your search will end in vain, as you have lost the map that told you where to turn, and the restaurant has long ago burned down, and the baker who made the pie has gotten tired of waiting for you and has devoted her life to making tomato paste instead, but she is no good at it, and now you are lost in life, the darkness closing in on you, with nothing but a sad flutter in your stomach and a sour acidic taste in your mouth.

An American writer of my acquaintance titled one of his books You Can't Go Home Again, but he was not necessarily talking to you.

Horseradish
Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid
. Copyright © by Lemony Snicket. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I really enjoyed it

    Reading this book is like talking to funny wise people. Sometimes you ponder, sometime you laugh, sometimes you're perplexed but you're always engaged into their conversation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2008

    What's not to love?

    I have not read this whole book but i love Lemony Snicket's other books so i know that this has to be a wonderful book.Lemony is a genius when it comes to literature.I have read the whole Series of Unfortunate Events series so, I really have a good feeling about this one. I truly hope that Lemony Snicket keeps writing more even if it's not in the series. I will be too sad if he doesn't.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    ok

    i thought that Horseradish was Ok not even close to the best book i have read i finished it in 1 hour so it didn't take me long but i think that what made me give it only 3 stars was that it made me really depressed i just wanted to read something happy but no it made me rally sad so it you don't want to be depressed don't read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    It's simple and interesting. I read the book over and over in just an hour and a half, or so. You can read it in any order you please.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    A Fun, Quick Read

    This is an excellent book for grown-ups to enjoy and relate with, and particularly good to relax with and read in one sitting. It's sharp, witty, and, as the title promises, filled with truths, though not all of them necessarily bitter. It's simple and clean-cut, and definitely worth at least one read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    I'm so pleased with Mr. Snicket's work.

    I love him and his work,all readed in less than 3o mins to an hour 'bigger books' I can't wait to read this book and learn more about this great story, being revealed to us. I can't wait to have every one of Mr. Snickets masterpieces.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2007

    A reviewer

    this book is very good i thiking i will buy the book after reading the first chapter!!!!!!!!!!!p.s i love yuor book love,aaron

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2007

    What Happened!?!

    I absolutely loved all of the other books by Lemony Snicket, and I couldn't wait for this one! Not only did I pay too much for a book I finished in 15 minutes, but it was like a cheap Lemony Snicket immitation. Where were the witty, cynical remarks that set Lemony Snicket apart from all other authors? And then there was some ridiculous nonsense about a wise/wide woman, it was not funny. I am afraid that Lemony Snicket has taken this too far, just like Eoin Colfer and Artemis Fowl.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2007

    Great book for all ages

    This was a very good book. My daughter read it then I read it then I put it on the summer reading list for my class. Usally, I get boos from the students when I hand out the summer reading lists, but this year kids cheered. They were very happy that a book they wouls usally read on there own was on the summer reading lists. One boy actally thanked me for putting this book on the list. Since when I read this book there were only three weeks left of the school, I couldn't read this with my class, but next year I will! I recommend this book to people ages 9-97. I'm 45 and my daughter's 10 and we both loved this book. - Helen, a grammer teacher in Ohio

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    I loved this book. It had a lot of witty sayings in it. If you like a good laugh, get this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2007

    rucker review

    wonderful!!! i cant wait for more books from him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2007

    Not what I expected...

    Before you buy this book, you should know that it is only a collection of quotes from Snicket's books. Although I was not entirely disappointed by it, Horseradish is obviously just a way for the publishers and Snicket to milk more money out of this wonderful, but finished series. And while the publishers somewhat lead you to believe otherwise, this book is nice to have, but certainly nothing new.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    Like the sound of the book.

    Can't wait for more Lemony Snicket books!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2007

    Great Book

    i am only 11 but i have read almost all of your books 'except for this one' so far all they do is make me wonder, wait, and sit on the edge of my seat at first i just read one so i wasnt bored but then i got hypnotised. These book are myfavorite series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    another lemony snicket lover once again sadly disapointed

    THIS BOOK WAS HORRIBLE there were no answers as many people wished there would be. just more questions, just like in book the thirteenth. ...just another scam to make money. beyond disappointing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    If you don't keep books, save your $$ and borrow this one.

    First I must state that I am so confused about all the great reviews from people who have not even read the book yet. That is not a true review and is a true waste of other reader's time. On to the book. It was not bad, but I'm glad I borrowed it from a friend who also read it in a short time. The answers we hoped for are not there and Mr. Snickett will be laughing all the way to the bank with this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    Don't waste your money!

    If your looking for answers to the series, this book isn't for you. It's a really quick read, theres big print. It only took me like an hour or half-hour. It's just little quotes, philoshpy. Another dissapointment from Mr. Snicket. Another book just for him to get more money, just as I expected.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    Read it in one afternoon!

    Bought this book on Tuesday, and couldn't stop reading and laughing! My children have read his books and I have seen the Unfortunate Events movie. I REALLY enjoyed the book. Walking through the book store, I kept opening the book to a new section and reading as I walked....I must have looked very silly laughing out loud!! I couldn't wait to get home and actually read it cover to cover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2007

    Lemony snicket rocks!!!

    I have loved every one of Lemony Snicket's books so far, and i don't believe i am up for any dissapointment in this one. I'm sure its going to be filled with new mysteries, and hopefully a few answers to old ones! I am looking forward to buying this new book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    makes a good gift

    a collection of lemony snicket's words of wisdom. fans of the series of unfortunate events be warned that there is not much if anything by way of new content to be had here, but it should make a great gift for friends or family not already familiar with his writings.

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