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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Fans of elusive author Lemony Snicket know he's an addictive combination of Roald Dahl and Edgar Allan Poe. Now, in a wonderfully entertaining and "extremely dangerous" book called Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, we get a peek inside the secret files of this mysterious man, a character whose identity and motives for telling the Baudelaire orphans' tales are just as cryptic as we'd imagined.
Beginning with the book's title, we know we're in for blissful secrecy. Readers are shown pieces of Daily Punctilio newspaper articles, diary notes, letters, movie scripts containing underground codes, meeting transcripts, telegrams, sheet music, photos, and more. They're all quite private and linked to Snicket -- except we're told that everything we read may or may not be true. Put simply, it all surrounds Snicket himself, the Baudelaire children, and Snicket's link to an underground organization called V.F.D., dedicated to recruiting new members and disguising their identities "in order to make sure the world remains, as we say, quiet." Throughout the "autobiography," we learn that any character could be a V.F.D. member in disguise (or even an enemy trying to foil V.F.D. objectives), and we're challenged to piece the story together ourselves.
In true Snicket form, the author's ambiguity is the name of the game. It's a brilliantly planned puzzle. Readers are lured into trying to figure out the true meaning of V.F.D. and why Snicket needs to tell the orphans' story, but do we ever really find out? That's what makes the book so appealing (or appalling). Truthfully, the author is probably off somewhere in disguise, keeping more files of his secret papers or corresponding with organization members. It's wonderful, though, when you're having this much fun. (Matt Warner)