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The Miserable Mill (2000)

by Lemony Snicket

Other authors: Brett Helquist (Illustrator)

Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (4)

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11,639113526 (3.63)66
Accidents, evil plots, and general misfortune abound when, in their continuing search for a home, the Beaudelaire orphans are sent to live and work in a sinister lumber mill.

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Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
The three Baudelaire orphans have been set up with a new guardian, name unpronounceable, who sets them to work in his lumber mill. Yes, including the baby. And they get only gum for lunch. Count Olaf is in there somewhere, but he's barely needed to make this stop on the Baudelaire journey a terrible one.

I can't get a handle on these books—since the beginning I've struggled to understand if they're meant to be serious or not. I mean, clearly there's humor injected here and there, or at least parts that I can tell are supposed to be funny. But is the world the stories take place in meant to be remotely realistic? Is it modern or some time in the past? How does it make any kind of sense that the kids are put to work in a lumber mill? That the workers of this mill are given only gum for lunch and paid in coupons? The absurdity level is too high for me to find any humor in it, especially with the overall serious tone. If there were some kind of payoff, it might work better, but there really isn't.

One break in the formula in this book, which I did appreciate, is the way the older two kids had to fill the other one's role in order to escape Count Olaf's evil scheme. But I still feel like I'm just hanging in there for the series to get good, as some reviews still promise. Handler (the book author's real name) is not the best at the narration. He's soft-spoken for the kids' voices and normal narration, then gets loud for most everyone else. There is something to be said for hearing how a character's voice sounds to the actual creator of the character, though, and the unnamed caretaker's voice in this book is certainly unique. Now I've got 1 more book to listen to before I can get back to Tim Curry, which was my whole point in starting this series. ( )
  Kristi_D | Sep 22, 2023 |
I hope, for your sake, that you have not chosen to read this book because you are in the mood for a pleasant experience. If this is the case, I advise you to put this book down instantaneously, because of all the books describing the unhappy lives of the Baudelaire orphans, The Miserable Mill might be the unhappiest yet. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to Paltryville to work in a lumber mill, and they find disaster and misfortune lurking behind every log. The pages of this book, I'm sorry to inform you, contain such unpleasantries as a giant pincher machine, a bad casserole, a man with a cloud of smoke where his head should be, a hypnotist, a terrible accident resulting in injury, and coupons. I have promised to write down the entire history of these three poor children, but you haven't, so if you prefer stories that are more heartwarming, please feel free to make another selection.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket
  PlumfieldCH | Sep 22, 2023 |
Dopo La sinistra segheria, non so che altra sventura farà passare Lemony Snicket ai fratelli Baudelaire. Siamo appena al quarto libro della serie e i poveri fratelli Baudelaire sono già stati costretti a lavorare in una segheria nonostante la loro minore età (per non dire tutto quello che hanno già passato).

In questo episodio, l'autore si sofferma sull'importanza di non essere soli: è vero, gli orfani Baudelaire sono perseguitati da una non invidiabile dose di malasorte, ma sono ancora insieme e possono contare sulle loro doti e, soprattutto, sull'affetto reciproco.

Inoltre, Snicket pone l'attenzione del suo giovane pubblico sull'esistenza di inique condizioni di lavoro e di datori di lavoro che, oltre a sfruttare la manodopera, si approfittano anche delle scarse conoscenze dei diritti da parte dei propri lavoratori. E il fatto più degno di nota è che riesce a farlo senza strappare ai suoi lettori le mutande dalla noia. Bravo, Snicket! ( )
  kristi_test_02 | Jul 28, 2023 |
Probably my least favourite book in the series. I didn’t really like the setting or the general plot of this one. ( )
  ameliaavery | Dec 29, 2022 |
The fourth installment, The Miserable Mill, sees the Baudelaire's heading to Paltryville (what a name!) to be placed with...some random guy? It never actually explains how they're related to this one...or what his name is...or what his face looks like (it makes total sense that cigar smoke would cover his face, duh). But he owns Lucky Smells Lumbermill and Mr Poe thinks this guy is fine - so much so he doesn't even bother getting off the train with them. Yes, responsible adulting right there.

Luckily for them boss dude who is probably not even related to them is willing to treat them like family. So he puts them to work at the Lumbermill under the authority of Foreman Flacutono. And Count Olaf doesn't seem to be anywhere. Not even in the big creepy house that's shaped like an eye.

Unfortunately, Foreman Flacutono is one of Count Olaf's cronies and it's not long before the latest plan to gain the Baudelaire fortune is enacted. This time it involves hypnosis and is targeted specifically at Klaus. Foreman Flacutono trips Klaus and he breaks his glasses. Klaus is taken to see Dr. Georgina Orwell - the town optometrist who hypnotises and sends him back to cause trouble at the Lumbermill. All in the hopes that boss dude will decide the children are too much trouble and agree to let the nice optometrist secretary, Shirley, (Count Olaf in disguise) adopt them. Perfectly reasonable. Couldn't have thought of a better plan myself. I honestly don't know if I'm more impressed that their plan almost works or that they came up with it and thought it might work in the first place.

Like always, the kids save themselves. Which is good because no one else was going to. And also like usual, they get removed from their guardian. Which was still good because he was terrible. And they live to see another day so I guess they're lucky.

Being alive had never seemed lucky before, but as the children considered their terrible time in Sir’s care, they were amazed at how many lucky things had actually happened to them. “It was lucky,” Violet admitted quietly, “that Klaus invented something so quickly, even though he’s not an inventor.” “It was lucky,” Klaus admitted quietly, “that Violet figured out how to end my hypnosis, even though she’s not a researcher.” “Croif,” Sunny admitted quietly, which meant something like “It was lucky that I could defend us from Dr. Orwell’s sword, if I do say so myself.”

Snicket, Lemony. A Series of Unfortunate Events Collection: Books 4-6 (A Series of Unfortunate Events Boxset Book 2) (p. 80). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Or are still terribly unfortunate but discovering they're closet optimists. 3 stars. ( )
  funstm | Dec 18, 2022 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lemony Snicketprimary authorall editionscalculated
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Accidents, evil plots, and general misfortune abound when, in their continuing search for a home, the Beaudelaire orphans are sent to live and work in a sinister lumber mill.

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