This episode in the Series of Unfortunate Events has two
great features. It provides some of the
funniest moments of the whole series with the songs of the Volunteers
Fighting Disease. The VFD sing
their silly songs as they march along, and hearing actor Tim Currys rendition
of them in the unabridged
audiobook has been one of the highpoints of 2002 for me.
We sing to men with measles,
And to women with the flu,
And if you breathe in deadly
Well probably sing to you.
You have to hear them to fully appreciate these songs, and
it also helps to know more about the modus operandi of the VFD, who
subscribe to the idea that no news is good news.
great feature of this book is its cliff hanging ending, which will leave you
wondering how you will be able to bear the suspense before you read the next
book in the series. Indeed, far more
questions are raised in this book than are answered, and nearly every mystery
that the Baudelaires face at the start remains at the end.
its unresolved mysteries, The Hostile Hospital is still a pleasure to
read. Of course, there are many
familiar features. The orphans are
still smart and inventive, Sunny still communicates complicated ideas in
amazingly short and indecipherable words or phrases, and Count Olaf and his
cronies are still pursuing them. But
Olaf has a smaller role than in previous books, and Sunnys words are less
cryptic than they have been in the past.
The hospital may not resemble most modern hospitals, but, with a
wonderful wink to the readers, the doctors and nurses all agree that paperwork
is the most important thing they do.
all the wittiness and intrigue, Lemony Snicket keeps the emotional heart of the
series alive. The children are still
mourning the loss of their parents, and are haunted by the terrible fire that
left them orphans. Count Olaf and Esmé
Squalor are unmistakably evil, so one still fears for what might happen to the
children should they fall into those villains hands. The Baudelaire siblings love each other truly, and provide a
model of moral rectitude, even when they are engaged in deception, theft, and
taking advantage of the weaknesses of perfectly innocent people.
In short, I
recommend that you hurry to read The Hostile Hospital, but only if you
have read all the previous books in this series.
© 2002 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Christian Perring, Ph.D.,
is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is
editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested in exploring
how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help
foster communication between philosophers, mental health professionals, and the