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A Series of Unfortunate Events #5: The Austere Academy

A Series of Unfortunate Events #5: The Austere Academy

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A Series of Unfortunate Events #5: The Austere Academy

ratings:
4/5 (163 ratings)
Length:
161 pages
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 13, 2009
ISBN:
9780061757174
Format:
Book

Description

NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES

As the three Baudelaire orphans warily approach their new home Prufrock Preparatory School, they can't help but notice the enormous stone arch bearing the school's motto Memento Mori or "Remember you will die."

This is not a cheerful greeting and certainly marks an inauspicious beginning to a very bleak story just as we have come to expect from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, the deliciously morbid set of books that began with The Bad Beginning and only got worse.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 13, 2009
ISBN:
9780061757174
Format:
Book

About the author

Lemony Snicket had an unusual education which may or may not explain his ability to evade capture. He is the author of the 13 volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, several picture books including The Dark, and the books collectively titled All The Wrong Questions.


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A Series of Unfortunate Events #5 - Lemony Snicket

CHAPTER

One

If you were going to give a gold medal to the least delightful person on Earth, you would have to give that medal to a person named Carmelita Spats, and if you didn’t give it to her, Carmelita Spats was the sort of person who would snatch it from your hands anyway. Carmelita Spats was rude, she was violent, and she was filthy, and it is really a shame that I must describe her to you, because there are enough ghastly and distressing things in this story without even mentioning such an unpleasant person.

It is the Baudelaire orphans, thank goodness, who are the heroes of this story, not the dreadful Carmelita Spats, and if you wanted to give a gold medal to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, it would be for survival in the face of adversity. Adversity is a word which here means trouble, and there are very few people in this world who have had the sort of troubling adversity that follows these three children wherever they go. Their trouble began one day when they were relaxing at the beach and received the distressing news that their parents had been killed in a terrible fire, and so were sent to live with a distant relative named Count Olaf.

If you were going to give a gold medal to Count Olaf, you would have to lock it up someplace before the awarding ceremony, because Count Olaf was such a greedy and evil man that he would try to steal it beforehand. The Baudelaire orphans did not have a gold medal, but they did have an enormous fortune that their parents had left them, and it was that fortune Count Olaf tried to snatch. The three siblings survived living with Count Olaf, but just barely, and since then Olaf had followed them everywhere, usually accompanied by one or more of his sinister and ugly associates. No matter who was caring for the Baudelaires, Count Olaf was always right behind them, performing such dastardly deeds that I can scarcely list them all: kidnapping, murder, nasty phone calls, disguises, poison, hypnosis, and atrocious cooking are just some of the adversities the Baudelaire orphans survived at his hands. Even worse, Count Olaf had a bad habit of avoiding capture, so he was always sure to turn up again. It is truly awful that this keeps happening, but that is how the story goes.

I only tell you that the story goes this way because you are about to become acquainted with rude, violent, filthy Carmelita Spats, and if you can’t stand reading about her, you had best put this book down and read something else, because it only gets worse from here. Before too long, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire will have so much adversity that being shoved aside by Carmelita Spats will look like a trip to the ice cream store.

Get out of my way, you cakesniffers! said a rude, violent, and filthy little girl, shoving the Baudelaire orphans aside as she dashed by. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny were too startled to answer. They were standing on a sidewalk made of bricks, which must have been very old because there was a great deal of dark moss oozing out from in between them. Surrounding the sidewalk was a vast brown lawn that looked like it had never been watered, and on the lawn were hundreds of children running in various directions. Occasionally someone would slip and fall to the ground, only to get back up and keep running. It looked exhausting and pointless, two things that should be avoided at all costs, but the Baudelaire orphans barely glanced at the other children, keeping their eyes on the mossy bricks below them.

Shyness is a curious thing, because, like quicksand, it can strike people at any time, and also, like quicksand, it usually makes its victims look down. This was to be the Baudelaires’ first day at Prufrock Preparatory School, and all three siblings found that they would rather look at the oozing moss than at anything else.

Have you dropped something? Mr. Poe asked, coughing into a white handkerchief. One place the Baudelaires certainly didn’t want to look was at Mr. Poe, who was walking closely behind them. Mr. Poe was a banker who had been placed in charge of the Baudelaires’ affairs following the terrible fire, and this had turned out to be a lousy idea. Mr. Poe meant well, but a jar of mustard probably also means well and would do a better job of keeping the Baudelaires out of danger. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny had long ago learned that the only thing they could count on from Mr. Poe was that he was always coughing.

No, Violet replied, we haven’t dropped anything. Violet was the oldest Baudelaire, and usually she was not shy at all. Violet liked to invent things, and one could often find her thinking hard about her latest invention, with her hair tied up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes. When her inventions were done, she liked to show them to people she knew, who were usually very impressed with her skill. Right now, as she looked down at the mossy bricks, she thought of a machine she could build that could keep moss from growing on the sidewalk, but she felt too nervous to talk about it. What if none of the teachers, children, or administrative staff were interested in her inventions?

As if he were reading her thoughts, Klaus put a hand on Violet’s shoulder, and she smiled at him. Klaus had known for all twelve of his years that his older sister found a hand on her shoulder comforting—as long as the hand was attached to an arm, of course. Normally Klaus would have said something comforting as well, but he was feeling as shy as his sister. Most of the time, Klaus could be found doing what he liked to do best, which was reading. Some mornings one could find him in bed with his glasses on because he had been reading so late that he was too tired to take them off. Klaus looked down at the sidewalk and remembered a book he had read called Moss Mysteries, but he felt too shy to bring it up. What if Prufrock Preparatory School had nothing good to read?

Sunny, the youngest Baudelaire, looked up at her siblings, and Violet smiled and picked her up. This was easy to do because Sunny was a baby and only a little bit larger than a loaf of bread. Sunny was also too nervous to say anything, although it was often difficult to understand what she said when she did speak up. For instance, if Sunny had not been feeling so shy, she might have opened her mouth, revealing her four sharp teeth, and said Marimo! which may have meant I hope there are plenty of things to bite at school, because biting things is one of my favorite things to do!

I know why you’re all so quiet, Mr. Poe said. It’s because you’re excited, and I don’t blame you. I always wanted to go to boarding school when I was younger, but I never had the chance. I’m a little jealous of you, if you want to know the truth.

The Baudelaires looked at one another. The fact that Prufrock Preparatory School was a boarding school was the part that made them feel the most nervous. If no one was interested in inventions, or there was nothing to read, or biting wasn’t allowed, they were stuck there, not only all day but all night as well. The siblings wished that if Mr. Poe were really jealous of them he would attend Prufrock Preparatory School himself, and they could work at the bank.

You’re very lucky to be here, Mr. Poe continued. I had to call more than four schools before I found one that could take all three of you at such short notice. Prufrock Prep—that’s what they call it, as a sort of nickname—is a very fine academy. The teachers all have advanced degrees. The dormitory rooms are all finely furnished. And most important of all, there is an advanced computer system which will keep Count Olaf away from you. Vice Principal Nero told me that Count Olaf’s complete description—everything from his one long eyebrow to the tattoo of an eye on his left ankle—has been programmed into the computer, so you three should be safe here for the next several years.

But how can a computer keep Count Olaf away? Violet asked in a puzzled voice, still looking down at the ground.

"It’s an advanced computer, Mr. Poe said, as if the word advanced were a proper explanation instead of a word meaning having attained advancement. Don’t worry your little heads about Count Olaf. Vice Principal Nero has promised me that he will keep a close eye on you. After all, a school as advanced as Prufrock Prep wouldn’t allow people to simply run around loose."

Move, cakesniffers! the rude, violent, and filthy little girl said as she dashed by them again.

What does ‘cakesniffers’ mean? Violet murmured to Klaus, who had an enormous vocabulary from all his reading.

I don’t know, Klaus admitted, but it doesn’t sound very nice.

What a charming word that is, Mr. Poe said. "Cakesniffers. I don’t know what it means, but it reminds me of pastry. Oh well, here we are. They had come to the end of the mossy brick sidewalk and stood in front of the school. The Baudelaires looked up at their new home and gasped in surprise. Had they not been staring at the sidewalk the whole way across the lawn, they would have seen what the academy looked like, but perhaps it was best to delay looking at it for as long as possible. A person who designs buildings is called an architect, but in the case of Prufrock Prep a better term might be depressed architect. The school was made up of several buildings, all made of smooth gray stone, and the buildings were grouped together in a sort of sloppy line. To get to the buildings, the Baudelaires had to walk beneath an immense stone arch casting a curved shadow on the lawn, like a rainbow in which all of the colors were gray or black. On the arch were the words PRUFROCK PREPARATORY SCHOOL in enormous black letters, and then, in smaller letters, the motto of the school, Memento Mori." But it was not the buildings or the arch that made the children gasp. It was how the buildings were shaped—rectangular, but with a rounded top. A rectangle with a rounded top is a strange shape, and the orphans could only think of one thing with that shape. To the Baudelaires each building looked exactly like a gravestone.

Rather odd architecture, Mr. Poe commented. Each building looks like a thumb. In any case, you are to report to Vice Principal Nero’s office immediately. It’s on the ninth floor of the main building.

"Aren’t you coming

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Reviews

What people think about A Series of Unfortunate Events #5

4.2
163 ratings / 58 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    It's been a long time since I've read this series, so writing a review so many years past is perhaps a bit unfair, but I did absolutely love reading this books when they came out. The dark sense of humor appealed to me, as did the motley cast of characters.
  • (4/5)
    One of my favorites in the series so far along with The Wide Window, this book worked extremely well. Of course it was still ridiculous and every adult in the book was infuriating, but that's the point. The Quagmire triplets were a charming addition to the cast, and Carmelita Spats was given far to little attention.The story is picking up a more serial feel, adding to the main story arc rather than setting up individual mysteries in each installment. This speeds up the pace from book to book, if that makes any sense. I dunno, it's past my bedtime.
  • (5/5)
    This is the fifth book in its series, and what a great series that is. I find myself immediately immersed in the story whenever I have a Lemony Snicket book in my hands. This time, the orphans attend Prufrock Preparatory School, a strict academy with an evil Vice Principal. The students are made to run endless laps of a luminous circle, listen to deafening violin music, and live in a shack with fungus dripping from the roof. However, they also meet some unexpected friends who help them along the way. These friends are in fact the Quagmires. A great story that was definitely worth picking up and giving a shot.
  • (5/5)
    This book was great. I think it is great for all ages. The stories are different, but interesting.
  • (4/5)
    This is one of my favorite books in the this series. It has alot of adventure in it and who are always guessing what is going to happen next. I recommend this book to children who like adventure and who have read the other books.
  • (4/5)
    I liked the introduction of some new allies for the Baudelaire children in this story. The author does a great job of finding ways to keep this series coherent without being too repetitive. This book also has more of a cliffhanger ending than the others, and just keeps me wanting to read more. The wordplay is witty and excellent as always, with the doom and gloom of Latin mottoes thrown in for fun.
  • (3/5)
    The misadventures of the Baudelaires continue. Here, they are shipped off to boarding school; where they are forced to live in a shack infested by crabs and fungus.
    However, they make friends with the two Quagmire Triplets (one of them died in a fire), and things look like they might not be quite so despairing after all, even if the school is boring and pointless...
    But then, Count Olaf shows up the the guise of a gym teacher...

    One of the funniest entries into this series so far.

  • (5/5)
    Another great book in this series. I really adore Isadora and Duncan so I hope they have a happy ending, but knowing this series I'm sure they don't. Solid plot line, solid characters. I would recommend this book. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • (4/5)
    As the three Baudelaire orphans warily approach their new home--Prufrock Preparatory School--they can't help but notice the enormous stone arch bearing the school's motto Memento Mori, or "Remember you will die." This is not a cheerful greeting, and certainly marks an inauspicious beginning to a very bleak story.
  • (4/5)
    The addition of the triplets was wonderful. It was a nice vacation from some of the tedium of the series. It's always nice what nice things happen.
  • (5/5)
    This is a great book and it really captured my mind and took me in and I like how a couple of main charachters are bad.
  • (5/5)
    I love Lemony Snicket. I like it that this book leaves you with a desire for more, but I will take a break from the series for a while. Getting ready for the Summer Reads !!!!
  • (3/5)
    The over the top suffering of the Baudelaires continues.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this installment in the series because Mr. Snicket made a change from the formula of the first four years by introducing real friends for the Baudelaire children and hinting at a conspiracy that might make sense of their tragic history. I will admit, though, that the formula begun in the first book and carried out so exactingly in each subsequent book has started to wear thin.
  • (4/5)
    The fifth book in this entertaining series follows the same formula as the first four books, but near the end we learn we will get a cliffhanger and the story spins into a mysterious new direction. Good stuff.
  • (3/5)
    After having read the first five books of this series one after the other, I find I’m rather depressed. It was nice for the orphans to have made some friends, however. Snicket’s defining words as they relate to his story instead of the dictionary definitions has become more egregious. Inevitable does not, ever, mean “a lifetime of horror and woe.” As we all know, the definition of inevitable is “unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped,” which would have worked perfectly well in Snicket’s narrative.
  • (4/5)
    One of my favorites; Snicket has an exceptional grasp on human behavior, particularly odd human behavior, and exaggerates it in a delightful, tongue-in-cheek sort of way that is sure to make you chuckle a bit and spit up most of your Pepsi. That being said, this book reminded me a lot of my high school.
  • (4/5)
    audio book is a great vacation "read" for the whole family
  • (3/5)
    There's something very appealing about these books, once you get into the tone. In this episode, the hapless Baudelaires go to boarding school, where they meet friendly earily like themselves. Snickett's clever definitions and outragous characters make for some laughs in this dismal tale.
  • (4/5)
    Violet, Klaus and Sunny are three Baudelaire's who are really unfortunate. It starts how their parents are killed in a fire, and they need to find a place to stay. Mr. Poe takes them to this school where they are put in the orphan's shack and are treated badly. They need to wake up every morning and eat breakfast, go to school, eat lunch, dinner and go to concerts. When they meet their new gym teacher, they know exacly who it is. It is Count Oalf, a very bad person who wants to take the Baudelaire's forture. The Baudelaire's in big trouble until their friends help them, and at the end they lose their friends, but get rid of Count Oalf. I like these books even though it is about kids who are really unfourtunate. I like to read how they will get rid of Count Oalf, and if anything good would happen to them. I though it was sad though that they couldn't save their friends in time and how they were like stuck together. THey were really helping each other with their problems. They would share their cups and utensils when they had to eat. One person who was mean was thins girl and all the other kids who would make fun of the Baudelaire's becasue they had to stay in the shack. I think it would have been pretty annoying to here Vice Prinsipal Nero copy everything you say. I think you should start reading this series if you don't know what to read next!
  • (3/5)
    Summary: The Baudelairs are at a truly Austere Academy, with a strange carving over the doorway, an extremely mean new girl, and an exctremely strange and mean gym teacher. but along the way they meet the Quagnire triplets, just like them but somehow THEIR trio is down to a douo. Review: It was good but slightly confusing, revealing tons of new info along the way.
  • (3/5)
    This book is the first book of the series that does not feel like it is a stand alone book- the ending leaves an uncomfortable cliffhanger which I suppose will be resolved in the next book. (All the other books ended up with the villain fleeing and the children feeling temporarily relieved.) Nonetheless, there were some parts of this book that made me chuckle, even though it is the weakest book of the series so far.
  • (4/5)
    Please, Lemony Snicket, I ask imploringly, a word here which means "so as to have more free time," write a book that doesn't suck me completely into the story, one that doesn't monopolize my reading time, and make me less than attentive as a zoom through the book I read alternately with yours just to get back to yours. Please? Then I'll have more free time for doing things like fixing that leaky faucet, or solving the halting problem, or one of roughly a dozen other things I'd be doing if I weren't busy reading your books.Granted, please let me know if you decide to write an uninteresting book, so that I know to avoid it at all costs, no matter what the organ grinder and his monkey may try to convince me. You may send notice through the normal means, with the exception of heliograph, as I have recently taken up occupation with a family of feral bats, and they do not take so kindly the flashing lights, no matter what manner of information is being conveyed.Nevertheless, I would just like for you to know that I recently picked up and read The Austere Academy, and I would like to say the following things about it:I found it truly vivid, your description of the Baudelaire's stay at Prufrock Prep. I had the chance to visit the same not too long ago, and was indeed reminded, as their motto states, that someday I will die. Vice Principal Nero certainly seems the sort to act in a way you described: busily practicing violin (of which, I have heard, he is a musical genius, and not, as you say, bad at it) so as to not notice the dastardly Count Olaf disguised as Coach Genghis, ready to spirit the orphans away in some dastardly scheme. Additionally, I enjoyed learning about the surviving Quagmire triplets, who, like the Baudelaire orphans, were orphaned due to a fire burning down their home, and how they assisted the Baudelaire's in foiling Olaf's scheme. Those poor children.The story, however, could have done without mentioning Carmelita Spats. She is truly terrifying. My therapist, who, currently, is a computer program, as I have recently developed a fear of those educated beyond a Masters degree, has had to spend countless hours psychoanalyzing me to help me forget the dreadful beast of a child.I found the book, unfortunate as the subject matter was, to be well written, and a very honest account of the trials and tribulation faced by our orphaned heroes.Please, continue to impress me, assuming you are well and able to write more. Otherwise, I shall take comfort in the fact that I have secured all thirteen of your unfortunate tomes (and two dreadful holiday books), and am meanwhile scouring the bazaars for any other writings I may procure authored by you.I was told, once, by a man who could stand perfectly still like a statue, but still hold a rousing conversation, that one who was interested in some fellow named Handler might enjoy (if truly enjoy you can these unfortunate works) the accounts of the Baudelaire orphans. I have not myself verified this, as most respectable bookstores that sell the works of Handler do not accept my guano-stained currency.Respectfully yours.
  • (4/5)
    This was one of my favorite Baudelaire books so far. Very funny and I liked how they made friends with the triplets. Excited to see what happens next (even though the series has been done with for awhile!)
  • (3/5)
    Another funny book in the Unfortunate Events series. This is a very dark book with a very unpleasant ending. Even now, the sensation sticks with me. I don't know what makes me keep reading the books, but somehow they are just so funny. And the thing is, I keep picturing Jim Carrey now. Don't know if that's a good thing.
  • (3/5)
    The orphans go to a school and there's a girl there pretty good book
  • (5/5)
    This is a good book. It shows how having at least one friend can make ant situation a little better.
  • (4/5)
    Good, good. Very funny too. I actually cried over this one. ;)
  • (4/5)
    I quite enjoyed this book, not only because of the triplets and the pleasant vibe they added to the miserable setting but also because of the possibility of a more complicated plot aka “V.F.D” which adds a good element of mystery.
  • (4/5)
    The Austere Academy is the 5th book in the Series of Unfortunate Events, the tales of the Baudelaire children. This one the Baudelaires are sent to a boarding school. At the school the Baudelaires meet the Quagmire twins triplets and become fast friends. As far as boarding schools go, this one takes the cake (here meaning Incredibly bad) and the Vice Principal seems to enjoy hiding his ineptness (hear meaning won't admit to himself he really can't play the violin) behind meanness to children.Another horrible addition to the terrible story of the Baudelaires in a Series of Unfortunate Events. Can't wait for the next one.