It’s rare for me to find a book that makes me laugh, repeatedly and with gusto. I still need to read A Confederacy of Dunces and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, which supposedly are among the funniest books ever written, but I digress. The book that makes me laugh out loud, each time, without fail, is Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid, by Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler.
If you’re about my age, you’re probably already familiar with Lemony Snicket’s other works; he became a household name for young people with his darkly witty A Series of Unfortunate Events books, which rocked many a preteen’s world with its macabre humour, rich subversions of vocabulary lessons, and twisted plots.
If you managed to make it through all 13 books, you’re familiar with the reasoning behind the title “horseradish”, and a good portion of the book already, much of it is cobbled together from quotations found in ASOUE. That doesn’t make it any less entertaining, however, and it is great for parties. Just pull out one or two of the phrases, and you’re guaranteed to come across as either wittier or stranger, depending on the crowd; really, both are desirable.
Snicket usually cautions his readers against perusing his books, to the point where the warning to not continue lest great misery will befall the reader is known as the Snicket Warning Label. I must offer equal caution against reading Horseradish, but only in public, because the giggles and chortles that will result could land you the wrong kind of attention.