I stole this idea from a friend who may have taken it from another friend.
Just as Jewish music is often written in minor key, so A Series of Unfortunate Events is often on the down side. Compare it to other children’s fantasy adventure novels. Frodo of the Lord of the Rings encounters many dangers and completes his quest. Lyra of His Dark Materials lies her way into saving the children. Harry Potter and friends conquer the Dark Lord. But those Baudelaire children may still be on the run…
A sample of Daniel Handler’s miserable prose (Lemony Snicket’s real name):
If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale. I’m afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don’t be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.
So here’s the Jewish nimshal to the books: the Baudelaire children are B’nei Yisrael (Children of Israel) and Count Olaf is anti-semitism, who follows them everywhere. They find a new guardian (some new country that treats them OK, for a while, say, Spain or Poland), but then Olaf rears his ugly head again.
So, does it work for you?