A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book The Eighth: The Hostile Hospital
fp November 2001
This story starts with the Baudelaire orphans walking across the barren plains in front of the Last Chance General Store. When they walk in, they are met by a friendly shopkeeper, Al, and they ask if they can send a telegram on the morse-code telegrapher. But when the paper deliverer comes, and he realises they are actually the three (wrongly) accused children featured in The Daily Punctilio, they think the kids are really murderers. So the children run out of the shop sharpish, and hitch a ride with the Members of V.F.D., (Volunteers Fighting Disease) who believed in the saying that 'No News is Good News'. Violet then inquired about Jacques Snicket, asking if there had ever been anyone like him, but the answer was no. They were told they needed to go the the library of records.
At this point, the story turns to Heimlich Hospital, a half-finished building. Even the sign was half complete with beautiful, fancy gold lettering on a white sign while the other half of the sign was cardboard cellotaped on with Hospital written on it in ballpoint pen.
Almost immediately after the children reached the ground, the Head of Human Resources, Babs, made an announcement saying she wanted volunteers to work in the Library of Records, so the Baudelaires went to see Babs about the job.
When the children got to the Library of Records, they met Hal, their new supervisor. A few minutes after they got their jobs, (Violet and Klaus filing and baby Sunny helping Hal find his lost keys) Hal remembered he had seen their names before in the file on the Snicket fires. So that night when the Baudelaires had gone to the un-finished half of the hospital (Sunny had suggested they sleep there) they remembered that Hal's eyesight wasn’t what it used to be. They had this thesis that maybe they could switch Hal's Key-chain with Violet's hair ribbon and lots of chewed up paperclips.
The next day in the antechamber they put their plan into action. They switched the key-chain with the decoy and when Hal was gone, they snuck into the Library. But who should find them but Esme Squalor…
I give this book 6 out of 10 because it’s a clever book, and some bits are witty. For fans of the series.
Connor, Year 7, Canberra
This book contains secrets of V.F.D., a fire and the Snicket file. A warning on the back of the book makes any 'unfortunate' reader (as Mr Snicket calls them) want to instantly read it and discover either horror or excitement in what will happen next.
This book was a 'have to read' to me from the way the 7th book ended before it, an un-ending story which makes you just have to read the next. This is a smart way to make people read and buy the whole series.
I would recommend this book to readers aged 11 to 14 or in Years 6 to 8 because you must understand what is happening in the story and be able to understand some of the words in Klaus Baudelaire’s extremely wide vocabulary.
I really liked how Lemony Snicket gives the reader a hint of the next story at the end of the books pages where you'll always find pieces of paper with messages printed onto them which are either smudged, torn, soggy or even with claw marks; it is like Lemony Snicket is really there.
I did not think that this is the best book in the series but I would still recommend most people read it and the rest of the series.
Laura, age 10, Sydney
If you have read this book and would like add your comments below please email your review to YARR-A