Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill #4 #BookReview

A Series of Unfortunate Events:

The Miserable Mill #4

by Lemony Snicket


From Goodreads:

Dear Reader,

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

My thoughts on this book:

The children head to Paltryville where they’ll meet there new guardian. They arrive at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill where they meet Sir, the owner of the mill. Sir is the Baudelaire’s new guardian and the children learn that the mill will be there new place of employment. Once again, the children are told not to worry about Count Olaf and that they’ll be kept safe from him.

“The deal is this: I will try to make sure that Count Olaf and his associates never go anywhere near you, and you will work in my lumbermill until you come of age and get all that money. Is that a fair deal?”

Life at the lumber mill is horrible. They’re barely given any food to eat and they’re forced to work very difficult and dangerous jobs. Not only that, they’re paid with coupons they can’t even use! Klaus ends up getting hurt which breaks his glasses, and when he returns from the doctor he’s become hypnotized. It appears that somehow Count Olaf is up to his heinous crimes again. The children discover that Count Olaf has disguised himself as a secretary at the mill and they must find a way to expose him.

“Why, hello there, little girls,” Count Olaf said in a ridiculously high voice, as if he were really a receptionist named Shirley instead of an evil man after the Baudelaire fortune. “What are your names?”

We enjoyed reading this installment in the series, but it was our least favorite yet. Our interests in the themes are sort of getting burned out after reading this book and we decided to take a break before moving on to book five. It just started feeling like the same story over and over again with the repeating plot, but the addition of new characters always makes it interesting. I will say that the books do seem to be getting darker and darker as they go on, not only that, larger with more pages. It’s fun to see what tricks Count Olaf will be up to next, but I’m still wondering why he keeps coming around to steal the children when the money isn’t even available until Violet turns 18!

My kids are still enjoying the series and we plan to finish all the books. After our break, we started book five, and it’s promising so far.



Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 6
  • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064407691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064407694

Thanks for reading my review of The Miserable Mill. have you read this series? Feel free to share comments!

❤ Mischenko

16 thoughts on “Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill #4 #BookReview

  1. Great review, Mischenko!!! Your description of the book really got me thinking about all those dark childhood fairytales that were cruel and chock-full of “unpleasantries.” Most of us know them: Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, Rumpelstiltskin…the list goes on. Ugh! Witches trying to eat children..eating grandmothers..starving children. All too much for me. I read none of them to my children. So it seems Lemony might want to follow in those footsteps. Well, I’m soured by the notion!!! My opinion: young middle-schoolers need hopefulness and lifting-up to deal with the complex (and all-too violent) world we’re living in. I’d like to see the “unpleasantries” reserved for YA and adult fiction when the readers have the maturity to process dark fiction (which I happen to write and enjoy). No surprise I’m not big on dark, violent video games for young people, either! Looks like the book series is REALLY well-written, but it’s a pass for me! “Heartwarming” for middle-schoolers (with an infusion of realism) feels like a better message for this age group 🙂 Thanks for getting me thinking, Mischenko!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Julia! Yes, I understand exactly what you mean. The nice thing is, there’s actually still ‘some’ good in the books. I especially appreciate how the three Baudelaire’s stick together and help each other out. Not only that, they try to see the good throughout all of the bad experiences so, it’s not all bad. I think there are some good lessons for young ones here. It seems to help that we are reading this together though.

      My kids–at this point–sort of think Count Olaf is comical. I allowed them to watch the first two episodes of the Netflix series thinking there wouldn’t be any spoilers, but that was a huge flop. A huge spoiler is shared and I think that’s why they aren’t really taking Count Olaf’s schemes too seriously. They kind of ‘think’ they know what’s going to happen, lol. 😀

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

        1. They aren’t bad really. I think the weirdest part of book one was Count Olaf making Violet marry him. I know some parents would think that was a bit overboard given her age? With this one there was a saw part that was pretty harsh. My kids don’t take it seriously, but we are reading it together. Thanks, Nina. Happy blog anniversary btw! 💜❤💜

          Liked by 2 people

  2. stephanie haddad

    I always enjoy your reviews on this series and am looking forward to the outcome at the end of the series. I just hope Count Olaf gets his ‘just due’. Lol. Nice review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you are moving forward with this series. You have now read more than I did. I will say this was a favourite series in my school library back in the day. When I was doing my top 10 villians this week, I almost included Count Olaf.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL! 🤣😂 Agreed! Yeah, it is a little redundant, but we are going to keep going! We’re liking book five more than four so, we should be able to get through the series. I have to to find out what’s going to happen. Eventually this guy has to be dealt with! If he gets away in the end I’m gonna lose it. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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