Lemony Snicket, the pen name of writer Daniel Handler, is such a clever writer. If you haven’t read his Series of Unfortunate Events, stop reading this right now and go read those books instead (they will prove to be better written and more amusing than any book review I can write.) After you read them, watch the wonderful Netflix adaptation starring Neil Patrick Harris. But I digress, so does Lemony Snicket, he digresses and rambles on throughout his charming new book Poison for Breakfast (digress a word which here means writing about a lot of different things that have very little to do with each other.)
The book begins with the sentence “This morning I had poison for breakfast.” Then goes on to explain that the book is about bewilderment (thus the question on the back cover “Are you confused?”) Lemony, or Mr Snicket as he much prefers to be called by those who don’t know him well – which I don’t, having never met him, then sets out on a quest to determine how he had eaten poison for breakfast.
His quest takes him on a walk about town where he contemplates the mysteries of life. He gives us his unusual take on several subjects, including an absolutely hysterical section about how to perfectly prepare eggs. The text is interspersed with some bits of poetry, a few lists, and his breakfast menu (interspersed a word which here means adding fun bits and pieces to a book). Did I mention the funny word definitions included in the book?
Despite the humor and slimness of the book (under 200 pages), the book is actually deep and philosophical (he keeps reminding us it is a book on philosophy disguised as something else), with references to the Holocaust, death, writing, paradoxes, acceptance of others, kindness, etc.
Although considered YA (documented by the big YA sticker on the spine of my library copy), I think it is a great read for adults and those who grew up enjoying his earlier children’s books.