A Series of Unfortunate Events #5: The Austere Academy

by Lemony Snicket

Other authorsMichael Kupperman (Illustrator), Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2000



Local notes

Fic Sni





HarperCollins (2000), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 240 pages


As their outrageous misfortune continues, the Baudelaire orphans are shipped off to a miserable boarding school, where they befriend the two Quagmire triplets and find that they have been followed by the dreaded Count Olaf.


Original publication date


Physical description

240 p.; 5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member readafew
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member miyurose
Mr. Snicket switched things up a little bit here. Unlike the first 4 books, this book didn't end with Count Olaf quickly escaping and the Baudelaires just left to move on to a new home. Nope, this book ends with a kidnapping! There also was the introduction of a couple of new recurring characters,
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Isadora and Duncan, the Quagmire triplets (don't ask). I was starting to wonder if I was going to want to finish the rest of these, but the last third of this book sucked me back in.
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LibraryThing member bibliophile26
I really like the addition of the "triplets" although it is hard to imagine an adult as absurd as the headmaster.
LibraryThing member aethercowboy
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member Othemts
Two more volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the first finds the Baudelaire orphans in an awful boarding school and the second adopted by horrible rich people. The formula of the books is starting to wear, and can't help but cringe in pain every time an adult character is obstinately stupid.
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The Austere Academy is particularly miserable in its morbid detail of the children's troubles. Yet it also has some of the funniest laugh aloud bits yet in the series. The Ersatz Elevator is good at capturing the Baudelaires in their hard-to-believe creative best. Both books feature a new pair of characters Isabel and Duncan Quagmire, who seem to exist to be orphans with even more miserable lives, kidnapped by Count Olad. I shall read more
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LibraryThing member lisa211
This is the 5th installment of the Series of the Unfortunate events for the ongoing adventures of the three Baudelaire Orphans namely Violet (the oldest and the inventor of the trio), Klaus (the genius) and Sunny (the youngest and the biter - yes she bites literally!) and since the death of their
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parents in an unexplained fire that consume their whole house, they are attending a boarding school. Mr Poe, their financial caretaker until Violet finally come to an age to the Baudelaire's fortune, have arranged them to attend Prufrock Preparatory School to further their studies.

The thought of being able to attend Prufrock Preparatory School would normally be ecstatic for the kids but upon their arrival, their miseries seems to be endless. They have an annoying Vice Principal Nero who are pretty irked off kids and insisted on every student to obey ridiculous rules that result with more ridiculous consequences if anybody would break it. Mandotary attendance to his 6 hour nightly recital was another thorn in their lives as he wasn't that good either. Instead of living in a comfortable living quarters, they are assigned to an uncomfortable shack with crabs and mosses, where Nero would call the Orphan Shack.

But in the midst of attending such an austere facility, they have a spark of hope when they meet Duncan & Isadora Quagmire, another set of orphans in the school, they new kind friends.

Of course that part of relieve isn't that comfortable enough, when they have to attend classes that teaches them nonsense syllabus and Count Olaf is in the corner, in the disguise of being a gym teacher called Genghis, and this time acted in such a way that would really take them off guard.

I love reading this installment since the author has finally cut out with chase of reintroducing the readers to the background of the Baudelaire Orphans, which of course gives new readers no good reason to skip the earlier installment o the series.
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LibraryThing member whitepine
The orphans go to a school and there's a girl there pretty good book
LibraryThing member KarenAJeff
I wish I hadn't started reading this series but now I have to find out how it ends.
LibraryThing member ct.bergeron
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
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very bleak story.
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LibraryThing member emhromp2
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
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if that's a good thing.
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LibraryThing member ccarafa
This book was great. I think it is great for all ages. The stories are different, but interesting.
LibraryThing member catz
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.
LibraryThing member delaney.h4
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
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good but slightly confusing, revealing tons of new info along the way.
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LibraryThing member hjjugovic
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.
LibraryThing member thc_luver6
Good, good. Very funny too. I actually cried over this one. ;)
LibraryThing member EmScape
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.
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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.
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LibraryThing member ceci.m.foster
SUMMARY - "The Austere Academy" is the fifth book in the series of unfortunate events by Lemony Snicket. In the austere academy the Baudelaire orphans are sent by Sir, there previous guardian, to a boarding school called Prufrock Preparatory school. At the school the Baudelaire orphans meet vice
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Principal Nero, who plays the violin but has no talent. The children encounter many strange rules such as no silverware if you go into the administrative office, and no cups for your beverages if you miss one of Nero's seven hour long mandatory violin performances. The Baudelaire's discover that count Olaf is disguised as a PE coach named Genghis. The Baudelaire's lose there friends to count Olaf and are sent away with Mr. Poe to continue their miserable lives.
REVIEW - I think that in this book you can nearly feel the sadness the orphans experience. You can mourn along with the Baudelaire orphans for their dead parents, and feel the pain they endure as they try to start a new life and make new friends, but are stopped by the pain and treachery of this world. I like this book because Lemony Snicket writes in an interesting fashion by referring to his own life and dropping hints about other books and characters, so that it almost seems as if the whole series is one great big mystery. I think that although it is a great book, this story is a bit depressing. In this book we see all the hardships that can get in the way of life, especially if your name is Baudelaire. I like this book, and highly recommend it if you don't mind being a bit depressed. I hope you read this, and all the other books in this series.
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LibraryThing member jmaloney17
I like the books but they could have been a lot better.
LibraryThing member GBev2008
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.
LibraryThing member riverwillow
In this book the Baudelaires are sent to the Prufrock Prepartory School, fantastic name, and make friends with the orphaned and bereaved triplets (not twins) the Quagmires. The story is, of course, not all happy, as the Baudelaires are confined to the Orphan's shack, full of snipping crabs and have
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to endure the terrible violin playing of Vice Principle Nero. One of the delights of this series of books is the naming of things and people. Of course Count Olaf makes an appearance, disguised as Coach Genghis, the story takes a dark turn. Superb.
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LibraryThing member bsturdevant06
This a good example of fantasy. It is almost on the lines of realistic fiction, the characters are realistic except for Violets amazing inventing abilities. The situation on the other hand is so over the top that it is fantasy. The writing stile is very interesting with the
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conversational tone of the narrator.
Media: Ink
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LibraryThing member absurd_bird
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member FrogPrincessuk
Well I've got this far in the series, and whilst there is a bit of 'you've read one, you've read them all', I feel the need to see where this is going.

Pleasingly then it looks like the books are branching out a little bit with some new 'recurring' characters and plot hangers, whilst not deviating
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from their unique style. Looks like I shall continue!
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LibraryThing member nmhale
The series is in its early stride here, still following the formula Snicket set up so well but always introducing new characters, settings, and ridiculous costumes. In this book, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are off to yet another location, hoping to escape the schemes of evil Count Olaf. Life at
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Prufrock Preparatory Boarding School is far from pleasant, as we've come to expect for the unfortunate Baudelaires. They are forced to live in the Orphans Shack by tyrannical Vice Principal Nero, and must contend with the crabs and fungus who already inhabit that location. Carmelita Spats inflicts her nasty torment on them. Nero forces them to listen to his horrid violin recitals. The only bright spot in their new hell is a friendship with the Quagmire triplets (of whom only two remain).

Yet even this friendship can't console them when Coach Genghis arrives. Ah, Olaf is back, with another ridiculous disguise that shouldn't fool anyone, but fools everyone, except the children. His usual persecutions begin anew, and the Baudelaires have to use all their ingenuity to thwart his plans. What they can't predict, though, is how he will respond to their new friends, the Quagmires.

I'm still loving every moment of this series. The morbid humor is outrageous, and Snicket's use of a sympathetic narrator full of forewarnings and forebodings is an ingenious touch to increase our pathos. The Baudelaire children are both clever and decent and we only want the best for them, which of course never happens, as the series is about the unfortunate events that happen to them, as self-proclaimed. The illustrations, too, are a perfect complement to the story. This book marks an interesting turning point in the series, as well, with the addition of the Quagmire triplets, who will change the formula of the books that has prevailed thus far. With them, the overall plot thickens, Olaf becomes even more nefarious and aggressive, and things will not be quite the same in the following books.
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LibraryThing member ababe92
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.

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½ (1810 ratings; 3.8)
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