A Series of Unfortunate Events: Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography

by Lemony Snicket

Paperback, 2003



Local notes

PB Sni (c.1)


HarperCollins (2003), Edition: 1, 240 pages


The elusive author provides a glimpse into his mysterious and sometimes confusing life, using fanciful letters, diary entries, and other miscellaneous documents as well as photographs and illustrations.


Original language


Original publication date

2002-05 (US)

Physical description

240 p.; 5 inches


0060562250 / 9780060562250



Media reviews

The Unauthorized Autobiography is a most curious work. The strangeness begins at first encounter, with the binding: the hardback cover encloses the volume on its four high sides, vertically divided down the centre of the front cover for opening. The back cover reproduces Lemony Snicket’s obituary as printed in The Daily Punctilio, a yellow ‘post-it’ superimposed at the foot, with the handwritten message: ‘This obituary is filled with errors – most importantly – I AM NOT DEAD! – LS’. The text runs to xxii + 212 pages, with a six-page index.

User reviews

LibraryThing member readafew
Ha! this book was humorous and full of 'in' jokes. It made me smile quite a bit. There was a lot of hidden clues and innuendo to things both that happened to the Baudelaire's, and the histories leading up to "The Bad Beginning". I would not recommend this book to anyone not already conversant (here meaning, having read most of the Unfortunate Events books) on the series as there would be absolutely nothing on which to connect the dots plotted randomly throughout the book. The book was mostly extra puzzle pieces which fit into the series but still there were quite a few more missing.

Anyway a fun book for someone who has already read most of the other Unfortunate Events books and enjoyed them, filled with hints and clues and dead ends. Enough to make you weep.
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LibraryThing member raizel
I thought Lemony Snicket managed to make a few jokes seem fresh for 13 books, and even successfully explained away all the loose ends. But I was hoping for some resolution or something completely different for this book. The best part is the title; the second best is the conclusion of the fine print on the versa of the tilte page: "Wouldn't you rather read about ponies?" (OK, maybe it's better if you read the rest of the paragraph.) Oh, and the index is well done, although as I remember it, Nabokov does it much better in his Pale Fire; so does John Updike in The Centaur. Both are books for adults.… (more)
LibraryThing member anneofia
When I read this book, I didn't realize it actually came out between the 9th and 10th books of the series. I thought the purpose of the book was to clear away some of the confusion engendered in "The End," the inappropriately named last book in the "A Series of Unfortunite Events" series by Lemony Snickett. It's a book of 13 short stories/articles/photos which purportedly - a word which here means the editors say so - can be read in any order. However, the best place to start might be the back of the book, sampling the index. This will give you an indication of what the book is all about, and then you won't be so disappointed when you start reading it. Does the book really answer burning questions such as "What happened to the Baudelairs? Were their parents alive? What about the Quagmire Triplets? And just who is Lemony Snickett, anyhow??" Or, is there more smoke than fire? You will have to read the book to decide for yourself. If you enjoyed reading "A Series of Unfortunate Events," this book is a must for you! However, i wouldn't recommend it to any one else. Personally I really enjoy the author's zany, off-the-wall and wordy approach to his writing.… (more)
LibraryThing member martensgirl
This is a very confusing book but I suspect this is intentional. It is not a straight-forward biography, more of a mishmash of letters, newspaper cuttings and photos. It does solve some of the mysteries left by the Series of Unfortunate Events, but the overall lack of narrative is frustrating. It's a book for true Snicket fans only.… (more)
LibraryThing member kejinglu
Lemony Snicket, the author of The Series of Unfortunate Events, has turned the most asked questions of his series into a complex version of a biograpy. This biography includes the communications of VFD, hilarious titles of what the author was going to name this book, and many, many more exciting things that go on in this book. Its a real challenge unless you read it very, very carefully.… (more)
LibraryThing member Shahnareads
This doesn’t help me at all.
LibraryThing member hippieJ
This book is a little confusing so i recommend reading it after you've read all of his series of unfortunate events books. It's a great book about the author's life. however you must remember it still falls in fiction because lemony snicket is not a real person. just his fake name
LibraryThing member TheCuriousCottage
When it came to A Series of Unfortunate Events, I could never get into the books, because I just didn't "get it"...until I read this book. The title caught my eye immediately and from there I started reading it out loud to the kids. I laughed so hard, I cried. After reading this, the series became one of my daughter's favorites. She has all of the books in her library and we loved the movie.… (more)
LibraryThing member JadeGordon
It was amusing, cute in jokes, but the index ended up being the most fun for me! Hidden jokes in the index!
LibraryThing member Cecrow
This was a fantastic, funny aside, very creative and amusing. I read it according to its publication date, between the 9th and 10th books of the Unfortunate Events series. Since it reflects back on the books up to that point, I strongly recommend this as the reading order.
LibraryThing member Pollifax
I liked it although it was a little hard to follow at times and it would also be helpful if I could read his hand wrting for his notes it might make things make more sense but I do like how he writes like when he says ...a phrase which here means... that i find to be entertaining
LibraryThing member ilikethesebooks
I did not read much as a young child, something that I try to make up for every day. However, there were three books/series that I remember devouring: Fever 1793, The Witch of Blackbird Pond and A Series of Unfortunate Events. These books seriously made my childhood (clearly I enjoyed depressing stories.... I was an odd child.). I didn't even know this book existed until two weeks ago, which is when I automatically bought it and read it as soon as it reached me. I was dying to continue the story, especially with All the Wrong Questions, Snicket's new series coming out later this year.

Although I enjoyed reading this novel, I wish there was a little something more... The book is composed of different pieces of writing gathered up in one place: news articles, secret notes, encrypted play scripts, dialogues, and more that all contribute to the mystery that is Lemony Snicket. I enjoyed the eclectic nature of the writing, since that style is what we have all come to love about the author. I just wish it all added up. Maybe I missed something, but I was hoping that all the little clues would create something come the end of the book... but I was left with more mystery. The novel was definitely fun and worth reading for any avid fan of the series, but I wouldn't expect a real conclusion.
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LibraryThing member Othemts
To fulfill my completionism, and because the next installment of A Series of Unfortunate Events will not be published until October, I read this disjointed companion to the series. It’s really for people who are fixated on solving the mysteries of the VFD and lacks the narrative joy that makes the series so enjoyable. In fact it's designed to be more of a scrapbook of clippings and photos with funny in-jokes. It made for a quick read, and I'm sure I still missed a lot of clues.… (more)
LibraryThing member PennHumphrey
I liked the A Series of Unfortunate Events, but this book was very hard to follow sometimes. It would be nice if I could read his hand writing because it was really hard to follow along. He did tell funny jokes in his book, but very hard to understand the book.
LibraryThing member Crowyhead
This is a kick! I think I'll have to go back and re-read this once the series is over, and see if parts of it make more sense.
LibraryThing member nx74defiant
Nice, funny supplement to the stories. With illustrations, photos and sarcasm.
Defiantly not to be read as a stand alone book.
You need to be familiar with the books to get it.
LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
Ok, I cut ‘The End’ a lot of slack for its indeterminate conclusion and unanswered questions. However, “Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography” is basically just Daniel Handler going “nyah nyah nyah readers: these are all the questions that I know I didn’t answer, enumerated – and I’m still not going to answer them! PSYCH!”

It doesn’t have a plot, and it’s not a biography, auto- or otherwise.

However, if you read all 13 Unfortunate Events, you might as well read this one too – it’s part of the same work, as a whole. And it is kind of cool, actually. But still.
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LibraryThing member Marse
Lemony Snicket's autobiography came out in 2002, before the end of the last few books. I should have read this before starting book 10: The Slippery Slope. If I had, certain connections revealed near the end of the series wouldn't have seemed so ... unexpected. Anyway, this book contains many photos and snippets of texts from various people, and explains that all the characters we've met have been brought into the VFD at a very early age, basically without their consent. So we get a glimpse into the childhood training that many of the characters experienced and follow, somewhat haphazardly, the careers of some of them. I have to say, I'm glad I read the series and the two auxiliary books, but I'm relieved to be done. I understand that Lemony Snicket has also written a (shorter) series of mystery books, based on the adventures of himself as a 13 year-old. Some day I may sneak a peek at those, but for right now I ponder how it is that I still don't know the significance of the sugar bowl!!… (more)
LibraryThing member Mothwing
What a strange little companion novel to the Series of Unfortunate Events. Probably it's been too long since I Finished the books. It was enjoyable To read about the characters again.
LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
In anticipation of the forthcoming release of The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events Book the Tenth) don't miss this depressing opportunity to warn even more readers off Lemony Snicket. Finally, here is the definitive – and only – book for anyone interested in learning more about the alarmingly elusive author. Ages 10… (more)
LibraryThing member Bricker
I have seen a few episodes of the show, but this is my first experience with Snicket's writing. It was fun...kind of like if Willy Wonka wrote a Hardy Boys book.
LibraryThing member aethercowboy
Lemony Snicket, while not a true person, is a true character. His life is wrought with disappointment, as all the lives of his subjects. For some reason, this makes his books all the more appealing to people whose biggest problem is they got the smaller slice of pizza or stubbed their toe when walking into the next room. At least they don’t have vicious arsonists dogging their every step, murdering and burning all that stands between the villain and the unwarranted fortune of his pursuit. It’s a matter of perspective.

Nevertheless, Lemony Snicket, in his Unauthorized Autobiography, presents several clues, possibly misleading, as to the more unanswered questions presented in his works (though, not to the ultimate unasked question). He gives more insight into who he is, who the villains are, and more information about his secret organization, such that, presented alongside the Series of Unfortunate Events and the Beatrice Letters, begins to unravel at least the first bit of tangles.

The book may not be for all, especially for those who have not read the Series of Unfortunate Events, or have little interest in delving deeper into the story. This book and the Beatrice Letters are to the Series of Unfortunate Events as Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantasical World Around You is to the Spiderwick Chronicles, purely supplementary, and only worth the time of fans of the series.

While this and other supplements to the Series of Unfortunate Events do provide some answers to questions, they provide even more questions in among themselves. My hope, though, is that when we finally see All the Wrong Questions, Snicket’s upcoming book, we also see a few right answers in the process.
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LibraryThing member BrynDahlquis
So many questions and really, no answers at all.

Perfect for lovers of the Series of Unfortunate Events series who want to delve deeper into the unsolved mysteries of VFD. I greatly enjoy matching it up with parts of the Baudelaire series. I'm also glad that there aren't actually too many answers, because sometimes answers actually ruin a good mystery rather than solve it.… (more)
LibraryThing member flexatone
Delightful mumbo jumbo about secret! The truth is out there and it is running away from you.

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