Daniel Handler

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Daniel Handler in 2006

Daniel Handler (born February 28, 1970) is an American author, screenwriter and accordionist. He is best known for his work under the pen name Lemony Snicket.


  • To Beatrice--My love flew like a butterfly, Until death swooped down like a bat, As the poet Emma Montana McElroy said: That's the end of that.
    • -Lemony Snicket
  • I’m sure you have heard it said that appearance does not matter so much and that it is what's on the inside that counts. This is, of course, utter nonsense, because if it were true then people who were good on the inside would never have to comb their hair or take a bath, and the whole world would smell even worse than it already does. -Lemony Snicket
  • The moral of 'The Three Bears,' for instance, is 'Never break into someone else's house." The moral of "Snow White" is "Never eat apples." The moral of World War One is "Never assassinate Archduke Ferdinand". -Lemony Snicket
  • 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 pincer 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
  • Klaus: Yes, sir.
  • Violet: Sir?
  • For Beatrice--I would much prefer it if you were alive and well.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • Violet: You are being unbearable, with a U!
Klaus: And YOU are being stupid, with an S!
Sunny: Aget! (meaning "Please stop fighting!")
  • Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make other people miserable, too. But it never helps. -Lemony Snicket
  • There are few sights sadder than a ruined book. -Lemony Snicket
  • If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. -Lemony Snicket
  • Stealing, of course, is a crime, and a very impolite thing to do. But like most impolite things, it is excusable under certain circumstances. Stealing is not excusable if, for instance, you are in a museum and you decide that a certain painting would look better in your house, and you simply grab the painting and take it there. But if you were very, very hungry, and you had no way of obtaining money, it might be excusable to grab the painting, take it to your house, and eat it. -Lemony Snicket
  • There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational- or, in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don't. For instance, the Baudelaire orphans have a fear of Count Olaf, which makes perfect sense, because he is an evil man who wants to destroy them. But if they were afraid of lemon meringue pie, this would be an irrational fear, because lemon meringue pie is delicious and would never hurt a soul. Being afraid of a monster under the bed is perfectly rational, because there may in fact be a monster under your bed at any time, ready to eat you all up, but fear of realtors is an irrational fear. Realtors, as I'm sure you know, are people who assist in the buying and selling of houses. Besides occasionally wearing an ugly yellow coat, the worst a realtor can do to you is show you a house that you find ugly, so it is completely irrational to be terrified of them. -Lemony Snicket
  • For Beatrice--You will always be in my heart, in my mind, and in your grave. -Lemony Snicket
  • Get out of my way, you cakesniffers! -Carmelita Spats
  • Shyness is a very curious thing, because, like quicksand, it can strike people are any time, and also, like quicksand, it usually makes its victims look down.
  • The expression "Making a mountain out of a molehill" simply means making a big deal out of something that is actually a small deal, and it is easy to see how this expression came about. Molehills are simply mounds of earth serving as condominiums for moles, and they have never caused anyone harm except for maybe a stubbed toe if you were walking around the wilderness without any shoes on. Mountains, however, are very large mounds of earth and are constantly causing problems. They are very tall, and when people try to climb them they often fall off, or get lost and die of starvation. Sometimes, two countries fight over who really owns a mountain, and thousands of people have to go to war and come home grumpy or wounded. And, of course, mountains serve as homes to mountain goats and mountain lions, who enjoy attacking helpless picnickers and eating sandwiches or children. So when someone is making a mountain out of a molehill, they are pretending that something is as horrible as a war or a ruined picnic when it is really only as horrible as a stubbed toe.
  • Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make--bombs for instance, or strawberry shortcake--if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see how this can lead to terrible trouble. For instance, one morning you might wake up and make the assumption that your bed was in the same place that it always was, even though you would have no real evidence that this was so. But when you got out of your bed, you might discover that it has floated out to sea, and now you would be in terrible trouble all because of the incorrect assumption that you'd made. You can see that it is better not to make too many assumptions, particularly in the morning.
  • Dear Reader,
  • If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don't. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.
  • Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system. Most of all The worst thing that can happen to their friends, (Quagmires)
  • It is my solemn duty to stay up all night researching and writing the history of these three hapless youngsters, but you may be more comfortable getting a good night's sleep. In that case, you should probably choose some other book.
  • With all due respect,
  • Lemony Snicket
  • Klaus: Maybe I don't know what "cakesniffer" means, but I think I can translate our new school's motto... If I'm not mistaken, "Memento Mori" means "Remember you will die".
  • For Beatrice--When we were together I felt breathless. Now, you are.-Lemony Snicket
  • Just about everything in this world is easier said than done, with the exception of ‘systematically assisting Sisyphus’s stealthy, Syst-susceptible sister,’ which is easier done than said. - Lemony Snicket
  • No matter who you are, no matter where you live, and no matter how many people are chasing you, what you don't read is often as important as what you do read. For instance, if you are walking in the mountains, and you don't read the sign that says "Beware of Cliff" because you were busy reading a joke book instead, you may suddenly find yourself walking on air rather than on a sturdy bed of rocks. If you are baking a pie for your friends, and you read an article entitled "How to Build a Chair" instead of a cookbook, your pie will probably end up tasting like wood and nails instead of like crust and fruity filling. And if you insist on reading this book instead of something more cheerful, you will most certainly find yourself moaning in despair instead of wriggling with delight, so if you have any sense at all you will put this book down and pick up another one. I know of a book, for instance, called The Littlest Elf, which tells the story of a teensy-weensy little man who scurries around fairyland having all sorts of adorable adventures, and you can see at once that you should probably read The Littlest Elf and wriggle over the lovely things that happened to this imaginary creature in a made-up place, instead of reading this book and moaning over the terrible things that have happened to the three Baudelaire orphans. - Lemony Snicket
  • A newspaper, as I'm sure you know, is a collection of supposedly true stories written down by writers who either saw them happen or talked to people who did. These writers are called journalists, and like telephone operators, butchers, ballerinas, and people who clean up after horses, journalists can sometimes make mistakes. - Lemony Snicket
  • When you traveling by bus, it is always difficult to decide whether you should sit in a seat by the window, a seat on the aisle, or a seat in the middle. If you take an aisle seat, you have the advantage of being able to stretch your legs whenever you like, but you have the disadvantage of people walking by you, and they can accidentally step on your toes or spill something on your clothing. If you take a window seat, you have the advantage of getting a clear view of the scenery, but you have the disadvantage of watching insects die as they hit the glass. If you take the middle seat, you have neither of these advantages, and you have the added disadvantage of people leaning all over you when they fall asleep. You can see at once why you should always hire a limousine or rent a mule rather than take the bus to your destination. - Lemony Snicket
  • Although "jumping to conclusions" is an expression, rather than an activity, it is as dangerous as jumping off a cliff, jumping in front of a moving train, and jumping for joy. If you jump off a cliff, you have a very good chance of experiencing a painful landing unless there is something below you to cushion your fall, such as a body of water or an immense pile of tissue paper. If you jump in front of a moving train, you have a very good chance of experiencing a painful voyage unless you are wearing some sort of train-proof suit. And if you jump for joy, you have a very good chance of experiencing a painful bump on the head, unless you make sure you are standing someplace with very high ceilings, which joyous people rarely do. Clearly, the solution to anything involving jumping is either to make sure you are jumping to a safe place, or not to jump at all. - Lemony Snicket
  • In this large and fierce world of ours, there are many, many unpleasant places to be. You can be in a river swarming with angry electric eels, or in a supermarket filled with vicious long-distance runners. You can be in a hotel that has no room service, or you can be lost in a forest that is slowly filling up with water. You can be in a hornet's nest or in an abandoned airport or the office of a pediatric surgeon, but one of the most unpleasant things that can happen is to find yourself in a quandary. - Lemony Snicket
  • Entertaining a notion, like entertaining a baby cousin or entertaining a pack of hyenas, is a dangerous thing to refuse to do. If you refuse to entertain a baby cousin, the baby cousin may get bored and entertain itself by wandering off and falling down a well. If you refuse to entertain a pack of hyenas, they may become restless and entertain themselves by devouring you. But if you refuse to entertain a notion--which is just a fancy way of saying that you refuse to think about a certain idea--you have to be much braver than someone who is merely facing some bloodthirsty animals, or some parents who are upset and find their little darling at the bottom of a well, because nobody knows what an idea will do when it goes off to entertain itself, particularly if the idea comes from a sinister villain. - Lemony Snicket
  • A cloud of dust is not a beautiful thing to look at. Very few painters have done portraits of huge clouds of dust or included them in their landscapes or still life. Film directors rarely choose huge clouds of dust to play the lead roles in romantic comedies, and as far as my research has shown, a huge cloud of dust has never placed higher than twenty-fifth in a beauty pageant. - Lemony Snicket
  • For Beatrice--When we met, my life began. Soon afterward, yours ended
    • Lemony Snicket
  • The world 'bubble' is in the dictionary, as is the word 'peacock,' the word 'vacation,' and the words 'the,' 'author's,' 'execution,' 'has,' 'been,' 'canceled,' which make up a sentence that is always pleasant to hear. So, if you were to read the dictionary, rather than this book, you could skip the parts about 'nervous' and 'anxious' and read about things that wouldn't keep you up all night, weeping and tearing your hair out. But this book is not a dictionary, and if you were to skip the parts about 'nervous' and 'anxious' you would be skipping the most pleasant parts of the entire story. Nowhere in this book will you find the words 'bubble,' 'peacock,' 'vacation,' or, unfortunately for me, anything about an execution being canceled.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • If you were to take a plastic bag and place it inside a large bowl, and then, using a wooden spoon, stir the bag around, you could use the expression 'a mixed bag' to describe what you had in front of you, but you would not be using the expression in the same way I am about to use it now. Although 'a mixed bag' sometimes refers to a plastic bag that has been stirred in a bowl, more often, it is used to describe a situation that has both good parts and bad parts. An afternoon movie theater, for example, would be a mixed bag if your favorite movie were showing, but if you had to eat gravel instead of popcorn. A trip to the zoo would be a very mixed bag if the weather were beautiful, but all the man and woman-eating lions were running around loose.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • As the official representative of Lemony Snicket in all legal, literary, and social matters, I am often asked difficult questions, even when I am in a hurry. Recently, the most common questions have been the following:

1. Will you please get out of my way?

2. Where did Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography come from?

The replies to both of these questions are very long stories, so there is only room to answer one of them. — Daniel Handler

  • Dear Diary,
    • Lemony Snicket
  • I didn't realize this was a sad occasion. — The waiter at The Anxious Clown Restaurant
  • Why do so many things end in fire?
    • Lemony Snicket
  • What can be hidden in a book?
    • Lemony Snicket
  • On the day you officially join the organization, you will hear a noise outside your home. It may sound like the howl of a wolf, the chirping of a cricket, the engine of an automobile, the keys of a typewriter, the striking of a match, or the turning of a page. The noise will come in the middle of the night, the middle of the morning, or, in very rare cases, late in the afternoon. Ask your parents what the noise was. If they reply 'nothing,' they are replying in code, because there is never 'nothing' outside one's home. If you are interested in volunteering, answer your parents with the following question: 'If there's nothing out there, what was that noise?' We will be listening and will know it is safe to act. — V.F.D.
  • As the aphorism says, If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
    • Veritable French Diner
  • If you are like most people, you have an assortment of friends and family you can call upon in times of trouble. For instance, if you woke up in the middle of the night and saw a masked woman trying to crawl through your bedroom window, you might call your mother or father to help you push her back out. If you found yourself hopelessly lost in the middle of a strange city, you might ask the police to give you a ride home. And if you were an author locked in an Italian restaurant that was slowly filling up with water, you might call upon your acquaintances in the locksmith, pasta, and sponge businesses to come and rescue you.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • Of all the ridiculous expressions people use--and people use a great many ridiculous expressions--one of the most ridiculous is "No news is good news." "No news is good news" simply means that if you don't hear from someone, everything is probably fine, and you can see at once why this expression makes such little sense because everything being fine is only one of many, many reasons why someone may not contact you. Perhaps they are tied up. Maybe they are surrounded by fierce weasels, or perhaps they are wedged tightly between two refrigerators and cannot get themselves out. The expression might as well be changed to "no news is bad news," except that people may not be able to contact you because they have just been crowned king or are competing in a gymnastics tournament. The point is that there is no way to know why someone has not contacted you until they contact you and explain themselves. For this reason, the sensible expression would be "no news is no news," except that it is so obvious that it is hardly an expression at all.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • At this point in the dreadful story I am writing, I must interrupt for a moment and describe something that happened to a good friend of mine named Mr. Sirin. Mr. Sirin was a lepidopterist, a word which usually means "a person who studies butterflies." In this case, however, the word "lepidopterist" means "a man who was being pursued by angry government officials," and on the night I am telling you about they were right on his heels. Mr. Sirin looked back to see how close they were--four officers in their bright-pink uniforms, with small flashlights in their left hands and large nets in their right--and realized that in a moment they would catch up, and arrest him and his six favorite butterflies, which were frantically flapping alongside him. Mr. Sirin did not care much if he was captured--he had been in prison four and a half times over the course of his long and complicated life--but he cared very much about the butterflies. He realized that these six delicate insects would undoubtedly perish in bug prison, where poisonous spiders, stinging bees, and other criminals would rip them to shreds. So, as the secret police closed in, Mr. Sirin opened his mouth as wide as he could and swallowed all six butterflies whole, quickly placing them in the dark but safe confines of his empty stomach. It was not a pleasant feeling to have these six insects living inside him, but Mr. Sirin kept them there for three years, eating only the lightest foods served in prison so as not to crush the insects with a clump of broccoli or a baked potato. When his prison sentence was over, Mr. Sirin burped up the grateful butterflies and resumed his lepidoptery work in a community that was much more friendly to scientists and their specimens.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • Like all fairy tales, the story of Sleeping Beauty begins with "Once upon a time," and continues with a foolish young princess who makes a witch very angry, and then takes a nap until her boyfriend wakes her up with a kiss and insists on getting married, at which point the story ends with the phrase "happily ever after."
    • Lemony Snicket
  • There are many things in this world I do not know. I do not know how butterflies get out of their cocoons without damaging their wings. I do not know why anyone would boil vegetables when roasting them is much tastier. I do not know how to make olive oil, and I do not know why dogs bark before an earthquake, and I do not know why some people voluntarily choose to climb mountains where it is freezing and difficult to breathe or live in the suburbs, where the coffee is watery and all of the houses look alike.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • Because of the information discussed on page nine, experts now suspect that there may in fact be one survivor of the fire, but the survivor's whereabouts are unknown.
    • The Snicket File, page 13
  • The sad truth is that the truth is sad.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • It's hard for decent people to stay angry at someone who has burst into tears, which is why it is often a good idea to burst into tears if a decent person is yelling at you.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • One of the most troublesome things in life is that what you do or do not want has very little to do with what does or does not happen.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • Miracles are like meatballs because nobody knows what they are made of, where they came from, or how often they should appear.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • The story of the Baudelaires does not take place in a fictional land where lollipops grow on trees and singing mice do all of the chores. The story of the Baudelaires takes place in a very real world, where some people are laughed at just because they have something wrong with them, and where children can find themselves all alone in the world, struggling to understand the sinister mystery that surrounds them...
    • Lemony Snicket
  • With the Baudelaire orphans, it was as if their grief were a very heavy object that they each took turns carrying so that they would not all be crying at once, but sometimes the object was too heavy for one of them to move without weeping, so Violet and Sunny stood next to Klaus, reminding him that this was something they could all carry together until at last, they found a safe place to lay it down.
    • Lemony Snicket
  • The world is a harum-scarum place."
    "Harum?" Sunny asked.
    It's complicated and confusing," Olivia explained. They say that long ago it was simple and quiet, but that might be a legend.
  • Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like.
  • Having an aura of menace is like having a pet weasel, because you rarely meet someone who has one, and when you do it makes you want to hide under the coffee table.
  • Dear Reader,
  • Like handshakes, house pets, or raw carrots, many things are preferable when not slippery. Unfortunately, in this miserable volume, I am afraid that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire run into more than their fair share of slipperiness during their harrowing journey up -- and down -- a range of strange and distressing mountains.
  • In order to spare you any further repulsion, it would be best not to mention any of the unpleasant details of this story, particularly a secret message, a toboggan, a deceitful trap, a swarm of snow gnats, a scheming villain, a troupe of organized youngsters, a covered casserole dish, and a surprising survivor of a terrible fire.
  • Unfortunately, I have dedicated my life to researching and recording the sad tale of the Baudelaire Orphans. There is no reason for you to dedicate yourself to such things, and you might instead dedicate yourself to letting this slippery book slip from your hands into a nearby trash receptacle, or deep pit.
  • With all due respect,
  • Lemony Snicket
  • Violet said..."We've never known anyone who could remain so cheerful, no matter what terrible things occurred.
  • To tell you the truth, I sometimes find it a bit tiresome," Fiona said...
  • My stepfather said that the amount of treachery in this world is enormous and that the best we could do was one small noble thing.
    • Fiona
  • Why, you're all grown up! The last time I saw you I was trying to throw thumbtacks into your cradle!
    • Count Olaf
  • People aren't either wicked or noble," the hook-handed man said. They're like chef's salad, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.
  • As the hook-handed man circled the brig, it was as if the Baudelaires were picking through a chef's salad consisting mostly of dreadful- and perhaps even poisonous- ingredients, trying desperately to find the one noble crouton that might save their sister...
    • Lemony Snicket
  • Lemony Snicket: (narrating) When you are invited to dine, particularly with people you do not know very well, it always helps to have a conversational opener, a phrase which here means "an interesting sentence to say out loud in order to get people talking." Although lately, it has become more and more difficult to attend dinner parties without the evening ending in gunfire or tapioca, I keep a list of good and bad conversational openers in my commonplace book in order to avoid awkward pauses at the dinner table. "Who would like to see an assortment of photographs taken while I was on vacation?" for instance, is a very poor conversational opener because it is likely to make your fellow diners shudder instead of talk, whereas good conversational openers are sentences such as "What would drive a man to commit arson?," "Why do so many stories of true love end in tragedy and despair?," and "Madam DeLustrio, I believe I've discovered your true identity!" all of which are likely to provoke discussions, arguments, and accusations, thus making the dinner party much more entertaining.
  • Lemony Snicket: (narrating) Reading poetry, even if you are only reading to find a secret message within its words, can often give one a feeling of power, the way you can feel powerful if you are the only one who brought an umbrella on a rainy day or the only one who knows how to untie knots when you're taken hostage.
  • I'm happier than a pig eating bacon!" Count Olaf cried. "I'm tickled pinker than a sun-burned Caucasian! I'm in higher spirits than a brand-new graveyard! I'm so happy-go-lucky that lucky and happy people are going to beat me with sticks out of pure, unbridled jealousy!
  • There is evil out there you cannot even imagine. -Captain Widdershins
  • C is for Cute
    A is for Adorable
    R is for Ravishing
    M is for Gorgeous
    E is for Excellent
    L is for Lovable
    I is for I'm the best!
    T is for Talented
    A is for "A tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian! NOW LET'S START MY WHOLE WONDERFUL SONG ALL OVER AGAIN!
  • Carmelita Spats, who oughtta be told "Gorgeous" does not start with an M.
  • I can't stand the lyrics.
    • Klaus
  • Richard Wright, an American novelist of the realist school, asks a famous unfathomable question in his best-known novel, Native Son. Who knows when some slight shock, he asks, disturbing the delicate balance between social order and thirsty aspiration, shall send the skyscrapers in our cities toppling?
    • Lemony Snicket (351-352)
  • Lemony Snicket: (narrating) But the three siblings were not born yesterday. Violet was born more than fifteen years before this particular Wednesday, and Klaus was born approximately two years after that, and even Sunny, who had just passed out of babyhood, was not born yesterday. Neither were you, unless of course I am wrong, in which case welcome to the world, little baby, and congratulations on learning to read so early in life.
  • Burn down hotel! Sunny said.
  • Never mind what you were doing, Olaf said. You're fired!
    You can't fire me! Esme growled. I quit!
    Well, you can leave by mutual agreement, Olaf grumbled and then with another succinct Ha! he lifted the harpoon gun and pointed it at Dewey Denouement.
  • I'll have ten grams of rice, Mrs. Bass interrupted, one tenth of a hectogram of shrimp vindaloo, a dekagram of chana aloo masala, one thousand centigrams of tandori salmon, four samosas with surface area of nineteen cubic centimeters, five deciliters of mango lassi, and a sada rava dosai that's exactly nineteen centimeters long.
    • page 134.
  • The last safe place is safe no more.
    • Sunny
  • I will love you no matter how many mistakes I make when trying to reduce fractions, and no matter how difficult it is to memorize the periodic table.
  • I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce and as the dark spot loves the leopard, as the leech loves the ankle of a wader and as a corpse loves the beak of the vulture.
  • I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and the passengers love the lifeboat and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavor of naval uniforms.
  • I never want to be away from you again, except at work, in the restroom or when one of us is at a movie the other does not want to see.

Adverbs (2006)



  • Love was in the air so both of us walked through love on our way to the corner.
  • The world gets grimy and the love object is in stark relief from its surroundings. This is love, a pretty thing on an ugly street and why wouldn't you pick it up if it appeared in a taxi cab.
  • I'm frightened by your behaviour. I woke up this morning and you said good morning and i said good morning, what do you feel like doing today, and you said well i sort of have to do this thing, and i said what thing and you said go to the reading of my father's will, and I said what are you talking about and then you told me that your dad had died. THIS MORNING.


  • If i were a little braver i would have asked her something like, "Do you think Kickass: the movie is a comedy in the traditional, classical sense?" and we could have that conversation and it would lead to other conversations during the flat and lonely times.
  • Standing ten feet away from Lila was sort of kickass with her nails drumming on the box with the slot in, where we put everything that we rip in half, and with her blue-eyed beauty and with the gum she was chewing and how lovely she was, in that way that makes you want to find something else lovely just so you can give it to her and see how really kickass it is to have to lovely things next to each other.
  • Keith has one of those all terrain things that will come in so handy when the world ends and we need a nine-thousand -cylinder engine to drive over those hordes of blood-thirsty mutants crawling all over the video-game landscape.
  • This world is suchier than we are, and the best thing to do is keep moving and find your keys.


  • Money money money money money money money money money. Let no one say it has no place in a love story. It has a particular place. It is something on the right shelf.
  • This is love, moving to where the money is, and all the while a volcano or an ex-girlfriend might blow the whole thing to hell, as the Americans say. As everybody says.


  • … the point is, why is there cruelty? Why do people ask other people to do impossible things? why behave this way? why is there mean, when there are better things than mean, love particularly?
  • "I love you, too" David said and took the bottle.
    "I want you to love me in particular," Helena said


  • It's always dawnest before dark
  • I'm full of hard times today
  • The right boys I always toss and the wrong ones I keep on top of me like paperweights.


  • What a bad day it was, the clouds were low and cloudy, the rain no fun, and the dark as it hit the late afternoon thick like someone who stops by your place and just won't leave. The day was canceled, almost, on account of the rain spilling itself over everything.
  • This was that day if you know what I mean.
  • It was a bad day for love.
  • The rain, the rain, the rain. You can't even hear it outside the window but still it's a sad thing. Rain, the grade school teachers say, makes the trees and flowers grow, but we're not trees and flower, and so many grade school teachers are single.
  • She said, "We're detectives" in the tone of voice that someone might say, "Making you happy isn't making me happy"
  • They could not love anymore, they thought, just drink and pour coffee and track people down in the rain. They were living frigidly, as if in a cone of frost.
  • All love gets over, and we must get over it.


  • Love can smack you like a seagull, and pour all over your feet like junkmail. You can't be ready for such a thing any more than salt water taffy gets you ready for the ocean.
  • Mike could see the fellow cooked and ate and sat on a sofa and put his feet up on the table it magazines. Mike didn't care which ones the fellow subscribed to, because Mike had subscribed to the fellow.
  • This is love, and the trouble with it: it can make you embarrassed. Love is really liking someone a whole lot and not wanting to screw that up. Everybody's chewed over this. This unites us, this part of love.
  • I find you interesting, Joe, so nearly everything you say will be interesting too. I love you. I could say I'm lonely but that's not the only reason.
  • "I'm not - the terrific guy you keep telling me about. I'm not made of sugar and spice and everything nice. I'm made of rats and snails and puppy-dogs tails. I lie sometimes. I have broken people's hearts. I'm looking for love, I'll admit that, but now that it's here in abundance, I'm afraid of commitment and I want you, please, to leave me."


  • [she] gave me a puzzled frown like she thought offhand i was dead but the media's so unreliable these days.
  • That's always where the love goes, with somebody else away from me.


  • All four of them have completely abandoned one another.
  • Adam hates Tomas and tried to get Eddie to join him in hate. It hasn't worked, although Eddie will admit certain shortcomings, and the two men have not met until now, in the forest, when Adam has decided that Tomas in Eddie's stories and the Tomas in this story are the same man.


  • It was the sort of day when people walk in the park and solve problems. "We'll simply call the taxi company, David, and request a large one, like one of those vans." Is the sort of thing you would overhear if you were overhearing in the park.
  • Dear Joe The letter said The windows rattle without you, you bastard. The trees are the cause, rattling in the wind, you jerk, the wild scraping those leaves and twigs against my window. They'll keep on doing this, you terrible husband, and slowly wear away our entire apartment.


  • "Yeah, I have a question," said the guy with the wicked eyes... "My question is, I quit. I'm going to quit."
  • What he'd just said was "Who cares?" and nobody wants to hear that.
  • South San Francisco The Industrial City is ugly as sin but somebody lives there: Allison, in fact.
  • He's been misled and he's been afraid. He's been hit in the head and left for dead. He's been abused and he's been accused and he's been refused a piece of bread. On and on he goes down this road getting pushed around and lost and around and given until sundown to get out of town, and yet this is basically a love song. He's had the shit kicked out of him, and guess what? It's love.
  • "When I was crazy." the radio explained, "I thought you were great."
  • Allison squinted at the strange, catastrophic sky, and took another step, another step, another step, because in the future - she could see it - this would not be happening.


  • If you follow the diamond in my mother's ring from Africa to Germany to California to Arizona to Wisconsin, in the heel of a grandmother, in the beak of a magpie, in the gravel of the path, in someone else's novel, in the center of the earth where the volcanoes are from, you would forget the miracle, the reason diamonds end up in people's fingers in the first place. it is not the diamonds or the birds, the people or the potatoes, it is not any of the nouns. The miracle is the adverbs, the way things are done. It is the way love gets done despite every catastrophe.

Not Particularly

  • "I know" Helena said and this is another example of why behave this way? Things just poured out of her mouth lately, like vomit, and sometimes it actually was.
  • They are all one, the mothers of us all, like the money you spent. Imagine the vanish of weight if the advice of your mother never existed. They tell us things, unless we have no mothers and either way things turn out such that nothing you've ever heard is ever any help.


  • "Instead of change, please give me gun so i can shoot you." She is soft-spoken but short and full of rage lately, like her whole life.
  • He bought a bird in its own cage, with a sheet over it so no one could see the bird and the bird couldn't see anyone, and the whole thing was a secret bird... Everything he said was tinged with the unreadability of someone who would bring a bird on cruise ship.
  • "Oh my god!" Hillary is standing in the doorway of the bathroom of the bathroom which on one had is surprising but there's the other hand, too.
  • "Help me," Allison says, but she is soft-spoken, and everyone she loves is so far away.


  • Over the years they had developed a layer of sincerity over the irony over the sincerity. It was an irony sandwich, then, which tasted mostly like sincerity, like a cheap, bad sandwich.
  • Wedding after wedding after wedding and then yours - your wedding? Would that make you what they're now calling happy?
  • God, or somebody, what is it with terrible things? If you made this world why not a better one?


  • judgmentally, judgmentally, judgmentally I would believe in you and sword fight others who did not, any necessary sacrifice if you were in the mood for that.
  • They say love's like a bus, and if you wait long enough another one will come along, but not in this place where the buses are slow and most of the cute ones are gay.

The End (2006)

  • If you have ever peeled an onion, then you know that the first thin, papery layer reveals another thin, papery layer, and that layer reveals another, and another, and before you know it you have hundreds of layers all over the kitchen table and thousands of tears in your eyes, sorry that you ever started peeling in the first place and wishing that you had left the onion alone to wither away on the shelf of the pantry while you went on with your life, even if that meant never again enjoying the complicated and overwhelming taste of this strange and bitter vegetable.

    In this way, the story of the Baudelaire orphans is like an onion, and if you insist on reading each and every thin, papery layer in A Series of Unfortunate Events, your only reward will be 170 chapters of misery in your library and countless tears in your eyes. Even if you have read the first twelve volumes of the Baudelaires' story, it is not too late to stop peeling away the layers, and to put this book back on the shelf to wither away while you read something less complicated and overwhelming. The end of this unhappy chronicle is like its bad beginning, as each misfortune only reveals another, and another, and another, and only those with the stomach for this strange and bitter tale should venture any farther into the Baudelaire onion. I'm sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes.
    • Chapter 1
  • Olaf: Of course I'm trying to trick you! That's the way of the world, Baudelaires. Everyone runs around with their secrets and their schemes, trying to outwit everyone else. Ishmael outwitted me, and put me in this cage. But I know how to outwit him and all his islander friends. If you let me out, I can be king of Olaf-Land, and you three can be my new henchfolk.

Klaus: We don't want to be your henchfolk, we just want to be safe. Olaf: Nowhere in the world is safe.

    • Chapter 7
  • Friday: Baudelaires, please come with me.
    Olaf: What about me?
    Friday: Go away.
  • Of course, it is quite possible to be in the dark in the dark, but there are so many secrets in the world that it is likely that you are always in the dark about one thing or another, whether you are in the dark in the dark or in the dark not in the dark, although the sun can go down so quickly that you may be in the in the dark about being in the dark, only to look around and find yourself no longer in the dark about being in the dark, but in the dark in the dark nontheless, not only because of the dark, but because of the ballerinas in the dark, who are not in the dark about the dark, but also not in the dark about the locked cabinet, and you may be in the dark about the ballerinas digging up the locked cabinet in the dark, even though you are no longer in the dark about being in the dark, and so you are in fact in the dark about being in the dark, even though you are not in the dark about being in the dark, and so you may fall into the hole that the ballerinas have dug, which is dark, in the dark, and in the park.
    • Chapter 9
  • Perhaps if we saw what was ahead of us, and glimpsed the crimes, follies, and misfortunes that would befall us later on, we would all stay in our mother's wombs, and there would be nobody in the world but a great number of very fat, very irritated women.
  • Olaf: I'm a genius! I've solved all of our problems! Look!
    Violet: Renaming the boat doesn't solve any of our problems.
  • Beatrice.
    • Chapter 14
  • Halloween seems to last forever, until it is finally time to put on one's costume and demand candy from strangers.

Dear Reader,

You are presumably looking at the back of this book, or the end of THE END. The end of THE END is the best place to begin THE END, because if you read THE END from the beginning of the beginning of THE END to the end of the end of THE END, you will arrive at the end of your rope.

See also

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