The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11)
By Lemony Snicket
The Grim Grotto picks up right after the previous installment as the Baudelaires have now been separated from Quigley Quagmire. They discover a submarine called the “Queequeg” which is controlled by a man named Captain Widdershins…
“Let’s see! I’ll put you to work right away! Aye! No—first I’ll give you a tour! No—I’ll introduce you to my crew! No—I’ll let you rest! No—I’d better get you into uniforms! Aye! It’s important that everyone aboard wear a waterproof uniform in case the submarine collapses and we find ourselves underwater! Of course, in that case we’ll need diving helmets! Except Sunny because she can’t wear one! I guess she’ll drown! No—she can curl up inside a diving helmet! Aye! The helmets have a tiny door on the neck just for such purpose! Aye! I’ve seen it done! I’ve seen so many things in my time!”
“Excuse me,” Violet said, “but could you tell us who you are?”
Also aboard the Queequeg are Fiona (Captain Whittershin’s daughter), and a cook named Phil, who is actually a returning character from The Miserable Mill. Once again, it seems as though the Baudelaire children may have caught a break after meeting up with this presumably helpful group of people in the Queequeg, but their surroundings are certainly grimm–and they’re faced with one of their hardest challenges ever.
“And their lives were lousy with lousiness, from terrible people to horrible meals, from terrifying locations to horrifying circumstances, and from dreadful inconveniences to inconvenient dreads, so that it seemed that their lives would always be lousy, lousy with lousy days and lousy with lousy nights, even if all of the lousy things with which their lives were lousy became less lousy, and less lousy with lousiness, over the lousy course of each lousy-with-lousiness moment, and with each new lousy mushroom, making the cave lousier and lousier with lousiness, it was almost too much for the Baudelaire orphans to bear.”
For me, this was the most frightening book of all this far. Sunny is very close to dying from this strange mushroom fungus called “Medusoid Mycelium” as they all scramble to find a cure for it. The fungus makes her cough and she can’t breathe well under her helmet. This just made me extremely uncomfortable. The fact that they’re underwater and not safe for the majority of the book didn’t help. The story–even with all the mysteries and suspense–just didn’t keep my attention this time around. This book also didn’t have as many comical parts, but Olaf’s new and unusual laughs were pretty funny though.
I did enjoy the character connection and loved the ending. Even though this wasn’t a favorite, my two younger readers still enjoyed this installment. We read the physical book and also used the audio which I highly recommend. We were feeling pretty satisfied about it by the end of the book and anxious to start the next.
- Age Range: 8 – 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 – 6
- Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 11)
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (September 21, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064410145
- ISBN-13: 978-0064410144
Unless you are a slug, a sea anemone, or mildew, you probably prefer not to be damp. You might also prefer not to read this book, in which the Baudelaire siblings encounter an unpleasant amount of dampness as they descend into the depths of despair, underwater.
In fact, the horrors they encounter are too numerous to list, and you wouldn’t want me even to mention the worst of it, which includes mushrooms, a desperate search for something lost, a mechanical monster, a distressing message from a lost friend, and tap dancing.
As a dedicated author who has pledged to keep recording the depressing story of the Baudelaires, I must continue to delve deep into the cavernous depths of the orphans’ lives. You, on the other hand, may delve into some happier book in order to keep your eyes and your spirits from being dampened.
With all due respect,
Thanks for reading my review of The Grim Grotto. Have you read this series? Let’s chat in the comment section below.