Book Review – Poison For Breakfast by Lemony Snicket

books, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was the first of my September pre-orders to turn up and I started it as soon as possible. I’ve only read a few of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books but I really wanted to read this one. It just sounded like a lot of fun, which I guess is weird to say about a book about a murder. That murder being Lemony Snicket who has been sold as real person for years. However, I was sure that it would be quite a ride and an easy way to start me off in my mega September read.

“Nobody knows anything at all. We have no idea what is happening. We are all bewildered.” – Lemony Snicket

What did you have for breakfast this morning? For what it’s worth, I had

Rice porridge
with dairy-free milk
one banana,
and a mug of mint tea.

but that’s not important. What is important is that, for his breakfast, writer Lemony Snicket had poison. At least, that’s what the anonymous note that is slipped under his door. To say that it was a bewildering note to find is a bit of an understatement. In an attempt to make sense of this mystery, Lemony sets out to find the meaning behind the note. He must follow a series of clues to lead him to the truth and we join him every on his quest. Starting by retracing the steps he took when purchasing his own breakfast items. Along the way, he discusses philosophy and literature.

I’ve not read a lot of the Lemony Snicket books but I’ve read enough to know that this is the classic Snicket. It’s a surprising story that will always keep you on your toes. Throughout the book, Lemony discusses the main rules of literature. One of the main being to bewilder your readers. Well, in that case, Snicket has written one hell of a piece of literature. It’s difficult to really say too much about the plot of this without risking spoiling it. However, I can imagine it being quite contentious. It certainly won’t be for everyone but I think it’s definitely worth a try. The narrative is a stream of consciousness that takes us meandering through various topics.

That might sound a bit too literary for your liking but don’t worry. This is written in such an enjoyable and understated way. It feels very natural and conversational. One of the themes in the book is that reading a book is like being “in conversation with the author”. That’s very much the vibe of the whole book. You and Snicket are coming together to solve a mystery but, to do this, you must discuss the answers to life, the universe and everything. It’s a book written by a book lover for book lovers. The literary references don’t stop coming and you’re definitely going to want to pour over the notes at the end of the book.

It is also a fantastic literary experiment. It sets itself up as a simple murder mystery but it becomes so much more. It’s a philosophical look at life and an argument to start living. It is also an analysis of storytelling. How important words and narration are in telling a story. Is Snicket telling you everything or is he an unreliable narrator? After all, the point of a good book is to keep you guessing. Poison for Breakfast is a joyous read and one that will leave you questioning everything. It deals with deep topics but is full of silliness too. This is a must-read for any fan of Lemony Snicket and a great read for any fan of literature. It is a book that celebrates life and living life as you want. A book that reassures you that, even if you don’t know what’s going on, it doesn’t matter. Nobody does and it’s great.

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