If you've been following Lemony Snicket's A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, then you've undoubtedly read of Beatrice Baudelaire. Who she is, exactly, is a mystery. And although this book is entitled THE BEATRICE LETTERS, don't think that you'll finally learn who Beatrice is. You won't. In fact, there's not a whole lot you'll learn about anything or anyone having to do with the series.
Don't get me wrong. THE BEATRICE LETTERS is fun. It's gorgeously packaged. It comes with a poster, a dossier of sorts that contains letters to Beatrice and letters from Beatrice. It has ingenious pop-out letters that you can use to attempt to decode a number of anagrams. It has business cards. It has pictures of a metal tool and a paperweight. It has, in fact, all manner of beautifully put together items that tell you nothing.
For the ultimate A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS fan, this is a book you must include in your collection. For the bored fan, this is a book that will provide you with hours of hair-pulling frustration as you attempt to decipher clues that seem to have no answer. For the mid-line fan, this is a book that just looks pretty.
For cleverness, ingenuity, and presentation, THE BEATRICE LETTERS gets 5 Stars. For content, or at least helpful content, the book gets 3 Stars. Overall, a 4 Star read, but one I would recommend most strongly to the biggest Baudelaire devotee.
Definitely more of a supplemental book, it both continues the story after the 13th book and explains some back story, or at least explains it as much as Mr. Snicket explains anything. Really though, it's heavier on the silly wordplay and phrasing than in depth explanation. Additionally, comes with a poster if you like Brett Helquist's art.
The Beatrice Letters, just like all the A Series of Unfortunate Events and Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Biography books, is shrouded in mystery and honestly, you don't get any answers. First of all, I have to say that I absolutely love the design of this book. I've never seen anything like this. It's safe to say I won't be getting rid of my copy anytime soon.
The Beatrice Letters is sort of like a dossier containing letters to and from Beatrice Baudelaire and Lemony Snicket. When I got this book I thought I'd finally be learning a little more about Beatrice. Think again. We actually get no information on who she is. Beatrice is still a mystery to me. Every single A Series of Unfortunate Events book is dedicated, in some way, to Beatrice. Some of my favorite dedications:
Book 2: "For Beatrice - My love for you shall live forever. You, however, did not."
Book 5: "For Beatrice - You will always be in my heart, in my mind, and in your grave."
Book 7: "For Beatrice - When we were together I felt breathless. Now you are."
Book 8: "For Beatrice - Summer without you is as cold as winter. Winter without you is even colder."
Book 9: "For Beatrice - Our love broke my heart, and stopped yours.
Book 13: "For Beatrice - I cherished, you perished, The world's been nightmarished.
Despite the fact I didn't really get any answers as to who Beatrice really is, I did love reading The Beatrice Letters. My favorite part of this book, apart from the design, was Lemony Snicket's letter to Beatrice, proclaiming his love for her. It was funny, sweet, and heartbreaking. I believe I've come to the end of my journey with the Baudelaire's. Unless of course Lemony Snicket decides to continue chronicling their lives. Until then The Beatrice Letters was the end for me.