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2003 Letters about Literature Winner  

Dear Mr. Snicket,

Okay. I'll level with you. When I was first introduced to The Bad Beginning, I stared at the cover for roughly thirty seconds, running through my mind which particular insult I was going to use on my friend, for asking me to read a book illustrated with a tall blue looking guy. Besides, the book was so tiny and the print was so big, I couldn't possibly take it seriously. Well, after much annoying and pointless arguments with my friend, I cracked open the book. And here, Mr. Snicket, is the classic story of irony, "irony" here meaning "Turning out to be the funniest and most entertaining story Ravi ever read, leaving him feeling really stupid for even doubting the quality of such a tiny book with such big print."

I read a quote once. I can't quite recall where I came across it but it goes something like this:
Once you look past the fact that nobody uses wagons anymore, and the fact that road kill was not even mentioned, it is quite a true statement. From page one, where it warned me to abandon the book for a happier one, the book was packed with humor.

Now, I consider myself to be a pretty funny guy and the omnipresent humor cast in the terribly tragic tale of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, once again brought home an important point. A person can lose his home, family, money, and pet chinchilla named Edgar, but he can endure almost anything as long as he has humor, the ability to take one's situation and make it seem better than it actually is. This leads me into another quote I heard, but cannot exactly quote because I don't remember it word for word, and can't seem to find it on the internet: Humor is man's defense against the world. Reading this book reinforced in my mind the need for humor. Hahaha! See I'm laughing!

The Baudelaires seem to find themselves in many undesirable predicaments, many of which involve a certain death. However, they work as a team, and more importantly, a family to escape the evil clutches of Count Olaf and his evil assistants. Being a guy, a member of the male sex, a dude, macho and many other masculine descriptions, I will try my best not to get "touchy-feely." Therefore, I will try to make this particular point without any trace of emotion.

I looked thoughtfully at my brother during dinner, prematurely ended by stares by other members of the family. I imagined myself in the Baudelaires' position and what skills my brother had that would let me escape Count Olaf. In a single pensive moment, I concluded that he did indeed posses the skills we would need. More importantly however, I also concluded that I would not mind being in difficult positions if l had my family with me. Count Olaf wouldn't stand a chance; not with my mom's evil eye, my brother's kicking skills (soccer player, naturally), my dad's ability to confuse even Einstein, and my irresistible charm and innocence.

I saw myself as all three children, sometimes caught in situations beyond my control, but managing to "escape" by drawing upon my family and my humor for strength. All joking aside, this book was a whole lot more that it seems to be at first. This tiny book had a BIG impact on my view on the world. I'll try and keep The Bad Beginning in mind when I fall once again into my teenage mindset, where I think the whole world is rotten and everyone is against me. I really liked your book, Mr. Snicket, "liked" here meaning, "wanted to read it over and over and over again because it was so funny.

I hope you keep writing.

With all due respect,

Ravi R. Pandit


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