The Basic Eight – Daniel Handler

The Basic EightMost people know Daniel Handler, if they know him at all, for being the genius behind the extraordinarily successful Lemony Snicket series of books.

It was with some interest, therefore, that I picked up The Basic Eight some 7 or 8 years ago to see if Handler could replicate his Lemony Snicket success for a significantly older audience.

The Basic Eight is told from the point of view of Flannery Culp and her friends ‘The Basic Eight’. Although the book only lasts for a period of a month, the things that happen to Culp and her friends highlight how tough life can be for teenagers.

If you’ve read the Lemony Snicket books and think they’re pretty dark, then you should try The Basic Eight. This is darkness on a night-time level.

As the story progresses, everyone’s behaviour and motives get more and more sinister and the life of a teenage girl is laid bare.

What’s more there’s an almighty twist at the end of the book that will have most people going, ‘huh?’ and scurrying back to the start and re-reading to spot the clues that are there throughout – a bit like The Sixth Sense, but probably a little bit more clever.

All in all, definitely worth a read and worth investigating. And I managed to get through the entire review without mentioning The Secret History, to which it owes a huge debt!

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