A Series of Unfortunate Events:
The Miserable Mill #4
by Lemony Snicket
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,
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.
- 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!