Sweet and Unfortunate Series

Sweet Valley High and A Series of Unfortunate Events (now an original Netflix series).

“Nostalgia’s a bitch.” – Damon from The Vampire Diaries (Yes, I love that show). 

The first part of this is a Literary Disco read. Episode 3 to be exact. If you click “Literary Disco” a few words back, it’ll take you straight to that episode. Sweet Valley High. I’m writing this review before listening to the podcast myself, so my initial review is honest and my own.

I never read Sweet Valley High as a kid, so I picked one up, chosen by the Literary Disco gang: “Double Love.” I always saw it on the shelves, but it never appealed to me, judging from the covers (something I always do).

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Reading this book was like watching a tame episode of Gossip Girl, and I will not lie; Gossip Girl is one of my guilty pleasures. Sweet Valley High: Double Love was an annoying read for me though (I am in my twenties reading a book for kids) because it was written at a middle school reading level, but when it comes to stories about girls back stabbing each other, I’d prefer to watch it on TV than read about it.

I did not finish the book, and I can’t say if I would have enjoyed it if I picked up the book as a kid. But I think the fact that I remember these books and made the decision back then not to pick them up answers that.

However, I did have an interest in reading Madison Finn by Laura Dower which is a similar genre: girl making her way through middle or high school wanting to fit in. I was drawn to the cartoon cover, and the summary on the back kept my interest. It sounded like a story I could relate to. I also remember enjoying the Mary-Kate and Ashley book series. Sweet Valley High was just not a cup of tea I wanted to try I suppose.

While we’re being nostalgic, as I kid, I also enjoyed Magic Tree House and A Series of Unfortunate Events. I am not re-reading Magic Tree House, but I am working on reading the whole Unfortunate Events series for the third time (if I remember right).

  1. When I picked it up as a kid.
  2. When I started doing the summer reading program a few years back.
  3. And now around the news of it’s arrival on Netflix.

I am on Book the Ninth, The Carnivorous Carnival, and unlike Sweet Valley High, I enjoyed this series as a kid, and I still enjoy it now, and that is a good quality in a book: timelessness. There are thirteen books total, and I am determined to finish the series because I don’t think I did as a child.

I got to say though, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a big fuss about the content of this series that is in the Juvenile section of the public library. Not young adult but juvenile (children’s books). It contains death, child abuse, and committing of many heinous crimes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great story, and I am not complaining, but I wonder how ten year old me could read such a dark series.

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I watched the Netflix series which only covers the first four books in one season. Wes Anderson had nothing to do with it, but it does remind me of his works; it’s quirky. I was reluctant to like anything that tries to remake things from my childhood because I know that the executives know that I will watch for nostalgia’s sake, and that’s how they’ll get their money.

With this hesitation, I wasn’t sure if I was a fan of the actor playing Lemony Snicket (the author’s name on the book series) reading me the books that I had recently already read myself. Upon more watching, I realized that Netflix actually stayed true to the book, so I am a fan of the Lemony Snicket character in the Netflix series.

The meta jokes Netflix threw in are pretty funny, too. They also added in what I thought was a spoiler, but I made the wrong assumption. This particular non-spoiler is not in any of the books I’ve read so far, but it does make sense for them to add it as well as extra Count Olaf scenes that aren’t really in the books either. It’s a good series for a general audience even if they hadn’t read any of the books which is a good and smart thing.

I basically hate how much I love the Netflix series. And the books still get my paw of approval (see what I did there since this blog is, “Doggy Paddling Through Words?”).

Next time, I’ll tell you of an unfortunate event on my travels that caused the fortunate event of me reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

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