This is the most condescending book--no, wait series, since I actually read them all--that I've ever encountered. I'd go through and count the number of times he explains words to me, but I sold the entire set a while back.
Yes, I know people say that it was written for children. But Dr. Seuss, every child's hero, wrote that, "Ninety percent of the children’s books patronize the child and say there’s a difference between you and me, so you listen to this story. I, for some reason or another, don’t do that. I treat the child as an equal." He also said that a children's book that only children enjoy isn't a good children's book. Dr. Seuss was a genius who has done the world a ton of good. I believe him.
Yes, I know people appreciate Snicket's unusual (in my opinion, misguided) writing style, but if you need to resort to treating your audience like brain-damaged two-year-olds, I personally think you're not doing something right. And by the way, in the first book, Violet ends up almost being married to an old and disgusting man who just happens to be a blood relative...eeew. Children are supposed to read this? I read it when I was 9 or 10, and I was repulsed by it. I also felt horribly condescended to, and I'm no brainiac and never was.
I can't believe I read the whole thirteen-book series. There are quite a few hours of my life that I want back so I can re-spend them, but not many that I want back more than what I wasted on Unfortunate Events.
Edit: Everything I said in this review is true, as far as I'm concerned. My opinions haven't changed. However, I have since read more offensive and/or abominable books (*cough* City of Fallen Angels/Lost souls *cough*), so I raised the series' rating to a two-star instead of one.