The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket

Title: The Ersatz Elevator.
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #6.
Writer(s): Lemony Snicket.
Illustrator(s): Brett Helquist.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: February 20th, 2001.
Pages: 259.
Genre(s): Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult.
ISBN13: 9780064408646.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Previously in A Series of Unfortunate Events series:
The Bad Beginning (Book #1).
The Reptile Room (Book #2).
The Wide Window (Book #3).
The Miserable Mill (Book #4).
The Austere Academy (Book #5).


What if wealth was the answer to all misery, despair, and discomfort in our lives? Even better, what if wealth was the perk of those who must look out for our well-being while we go on with our lives without a care in the world about adult responsibilities and all those shenanigans that make most people unhappy? While wealth might resolve many issues, there are countless others that it is inefficient against and sometimes it’s those little things that really make life worthwhile. Being the sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, writer Lemony Snicket, still assisted by illustrator Brett Helquist, continues to tell the tales of the Baudelaire orphans so that the world may know the terrible things that happened to them.

What is The Ersatz Elevator about? Having now left Prufrock Preparatory School, also inevitably leaving behind the narcissist vice principal and the rude girl Carmelita Spats whose really the cakesniffiest of all cakesniffers, Mr. Poe takes the Baudelaire orphans to their new and wealthy guardians, Mr. and Mrs. Squalor, living on 667 Dark Avenue in the penthouse of a terrifyingly tall home. Although Mr. Squalor is a good friend of the Baudelaire orphans’ mother, he despises arguments and avoids them at all costs. Meanwhile, Mrs. Squalor is the city’s sixth most important financial adviser and does everything in her power to follow trends and enforce new rules in her presence regarding what’s “in” and what’s “out”. In this case, upon meeting the children, elevators were “out”, orphans were “in”, and pinstripe suits were “in”. Unfortunately, the Baudelaire orphans must still look out for Count Olaf, wherever he’s at, since “evil plans” aren’t “out” just yet.

“Me neither, but if we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. Let’s go.”

Lemony Snicket.

If you thought the previous book had fewer if not no elements that required readers to embrace some suspension of disbelief, get ready for plenty of that in this story. However, having gotten this far into the series, it’s become customary to go with the flow, to embrace those sillier moments, and to remember the core target audience of this book series, immediately transforming all those unbelievable moments into more comedic pieces to the narrative. Oddly enough, these elements often pertain to dangerous aspects of the story, things that would never be put near children or things you would never ask them to do, even if it might be their only hope in saving their friends or themselves from unwanted trouble. Nonetheless, once buckled in and ready for anything writer Lemony Snicket throws at you, this latest chapter in the life of the Baudelaire orphans is another sad and depressing event, once more adding to the pile of unfortunate circumstances that they must survive through.

As per usual, writer Lemony Snicket does a fine job in his narration, often warning readers of the deplorable things that are about to unfold. He also continues to include quirky contextual definitions of words and expressions that allow readers to understand unusual words or admire his wordplay. There’s also a lot of repetition that is often there for comedic effect as if the characters alone weren’t enough with all the silliness they are sometimes quite capable of. In fact, it’s also worth noting that adults, once again, are completely irrelevant and terrible characters in this story. Mrs. Squalor, in particular, really outdoes herself as an egocentric and uncaring adult that you can’t help but resent, while Mr. Squalor shows some sign of wanting to do good by the children but never really getting there, as his flaws always end up dominating his character.

Although the story doesn’t really move forward as much as you’d hope, this remains a direct continuation of the previous book and adds into the mix a little droplet of new clues regarding the tragedy that affected the Baudelaire orphans and sent them on this wild series of unfortunate events. The overarching story’s mystery continues to be a huge reason to keep going, always hoping that these Baudelaire children will get their happy ending.

The Ersatz Elevator is another unfortunate event in the Baudelaire orphans’ lives that remains entertaining by hook or crook as these children witness an ersatz world full of ersatz goods.



34 thoughts on “The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket

  1. If previous books are same, making readers suspend belief and then i think this far in series I would get used to it. Sometimes stories just needs to be enjoyed without putting much brain in it. I would still get these books if my kid shows interest. Great review, Lashaan!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am not sure that series would be for me. It reminds me a little of Les Misérables and Zola. I need more “fluffy” reads these days LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Not sure if I’ve said this before, but it’s great having a series that might tackle such unfortunate events, but do it in a lighthearted and perhaps humorous way. Great to see you enjoying this series.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read the first three books with a young boy and girl I was babysitting when they first came out and we all had a good time with them. I liked how the series introduced tough things, but went over them lightly. And, yes, adults could get up to some villainy in this series. Sadly, I can’t remember much beyond general impressions so maybe a re-read and push on to finish the series is a future reading goal for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t help but think that the series is a wonderful book to read with an adult. I’m convinced it could open up some interesting discussions about so many different things that are sometimes not easy to talk about too. I do hope you enjoy this series if you ever decide to try it again and get all the way to the end! 😀 Thank you so much for reading, Sophia!


  5. Thank you for yet another thorough and fair review, Lashaan:)). I didn’t get far into this series as I found it a tough read – but I was interested that my grandsons got great comfort from it when they were going through a difficult time. They actually called themselves the Baudelaire’s for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

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