Read We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler Online


Mega-bestselling author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) gives us his long-awaited and most ambitious novel yet: a dark, rollicking, stunningly entertaining human comedy.A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.Phil is a husband, a father, a strMega-bestselling author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) gives us his long-awaited and most ambitious novel yet: a dark, rollicking, stunningly entertaining human comedy.A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer, and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he’d like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter.Gwen is his daughter. She’s fourteen. She’s a student, a swimmer, and a best friend. But she’d like to be an adventurer and an outlaw.Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal.Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure.We Are Pirates is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.Also, it’s about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home....

Title : We Are Pirates
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781608196883
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 269 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

We Are Pirates Reviews

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2019-06-25 07:58

    Find all of my reviews at: is with great sadness that I come to this review space and tell you I might be throwing in the towel when it comes to Daniel Handler. Sorry Daniel, it’s not me – it’s you. I was terrified of reading anything of the non-Lemony Snicket variety and was so happy when I read and looooooooved The Basic Eight . I mean this was a hardcore unhealthy kind of love. Like get a restraining order against me kind of love. I loved it so much that when I didn’t completely fall over myself after reading Why We Broke Up I blamed myself (and particularly my old age) on my reduced enjoyment. A few months later I gave Adverbs a shot . . . and hated it. And here I am today saying I hated this one even more. And I’m saaaaaaaaaaaad.Daniel Handler, you were supposed to be one of my favorites! I pictured myself going all “Annie Wilkes” on you due to my superfangirling . . . and now it’s all ruined.I can’t even review this. If you want to see a well thought review from someone who didn’t really like this one either, check out Melki’s. Alternatively, if you want a well thought review from someone who did like it, check out Wart’s. I’mma go cry some more now.ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!

  • Melki
    2019-06-12 02:54

    Gwen has been a bad, BAD girl.Now, she's receiving a fitting punishment for a 14-year-old - spending time in a building drenched with old-people smell while she serves as companion to Errol, a retired Navy vet suffering from Alzheimer's. He's currently incarcerated in a home for the elderly, and of course, he's not happy about it. An unlikely friendship is kindled as Gwen spends her days reading swashbuckling books aloud to Errol. But, in a rare case of too much reading being bad for you, Gwen gets the idea to become a REAL pirate...and many will suffer in her wake.Sadly, the reader is one of her victims. Good God - can I tell you how much I was looking forward to this book, how much I wanted to love this book? I've read Handler's work as Lemony Snicket and a few short stories published under his own name. No question about it, the man can write! So, what the hell happened here?There are bright spots, plenty of asides and one-liners that had me snickering. And, the part where Gwen's parents visit the police station about their missing daughter is packed with genuine emotion and agony. We hear the random thoughts drifting through Gwen's father's head - thoughts that he doesn't WANT to be having, like "if she's dead, should I spend her college fund on a car" - the kinds of thoughts that make us laugh inappropriately at funerals. This scene was PERFECT, beautifully written and DEAD-ON, but it makes me all the more miserable that the rest of the book was not so wonderful.The whole premise seems to be played for laughs, yet it becomes a disturbing miasma when everything suddenly turns violent and nasty. Dad's storyline - trying to sell a new radio show while being tempted by his young assistant - seems pointless. And Mom? She exists only to be a thorn in Gwen's side and a shrew to her husband. Though the writing is consistently fine, the plot's a murky mess. And just because they're pirates, do they really HAVE to have a parrot?(I haven't wanted to throttle anything this badly since I met Jar Jar Binks!)

  • Sam Quixote
    2019-06-19 09:06

    Spoilers, I guess, but unless you’re obligated to read/review it like me because you foolishly clicked “request” on Netgalley - and I can’t stress this next part enough - I really would NOT bother with this tripe! Gwen’s a 14 year old schoolgirl who’s recently turned to shoplifting because she’s bored and lonely or something. She has crappy friends until she meets Amber, another “wayward” teen, who gets her. Together they form a ragtag group of “pirates” who decide to float around the San Francisco bay area robbing boats. Her dad, Phil, is trying to flog a radio show somewhere. On the edge of your seat, right? I’m not sure what Daniel Handler was going for in We Are Pirates and he probably didn’t either. I thought it was going to be this light-hearted romp, kinda like an indie movie, and it started out that way and then went way off the reservation two-thirds in. Gwen’s pirate story plays out like an average indie movie. She and Amber become besties, they rope in a senile old codger called Errol and his minder, along with a boy who likes Gwen but whom Gwen doesn’t like, and they start robbing boats. It’s cute if a bit weird - I mean, where does it go? And then - MASSIVE TONAL SHIFT - they start hacking up people. Not just murdering them but butchering them, cutting up their bodies. What. The. Duck. Where did that come from and why stick that in the last quarter of the novel? I didn’t like Gwen but I didn’t think she was despicable up until that point and then I hated her. I hated the fact that she doesn’t even pay for her crimes and that her kiddie plans to be a pirate descended into nightmarish evil whatthefuckery for no reason. I’m not against violence in stories but it was completely inappropriate for this one particularly for how it was written up to that point. I just don’t know what Handler was going for at all. The other story is Gwen’s dad, Phil, which isn’t just boring, it’s also completely pointless. He flies out to LA or somewhere to pitch a radio show with his hot assistant. They get there, it’s unclear whether they hook up in the hotel, is about to do the pitch and then he finds out Gwen’s run off, so he has to go back and look for her. He doesn’t help and Gwen eventually shows up by herself. Really - what was the point of Phil at all? His storyline is IRRELEVANT. In every conceivable way, it doesn’t matter. He had “filler” written all over him. What a shitty storyteller Handler is! The characters are awful, the narrative is all over the shop, it’s not funny, it’s not interesting, who knows what we were supposed to take away from the novel - every aspect of We Are Pirates stinks! I read Handler’s earlier novel Adverbs several years ago and couldn’t remember a thing about it except it had a cool comics-like cover. Now I know why I forgot - I must’ve blocked out the sheer awfulness of that book! If I ever read another Daniel Handler book again it’ll be too soon. A skull and crossbones is suitable for this book’s cover - it’s toxic.

  • Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
    2019-06-17 08:01

    *NetGalley book review*What a hoot this book was. A Handler book for adults who enjoyed the Snicket books. I absolutely do not want to give anything away. But this is a excellent book.

  • Ron Charles
    2019-05-26 05:09

    Ahoy, parents: Daniel Handler’s new novel, “We Are Pirates,” spools out a series of unfortunate events, but it’s not for your kids — and don’t let the fantastic embossed cover lead you astray. Although the scent of Lemony Snicket’s gothic humor lingers over this tale of upper-middle-class despair, it’s assuredly one of Handler’s adult books.(Watch Totally Hip Video Book Review here.)As the voyage begins, we seem to be sailing into the still, clear waters of domestic satire. Phil and Marina Needle live in a condo they can’t afford in San Francisco, where hardly anybody can afford a condo. Their marriage has “reached the timberline of their affection,” but they don’t notice yet. They also don’t notice that their 14-year-old daughter, Gwen, has grown unhappy and fiercely bored — did I mention she’s 14? When a drugstore manager calls to report that she has been caught shoplifting, Phil’s daughter seems suddenly alien: “He did not know anything about a girl who would steal things from a drugstore. Gwen didn’t seem like she could be this girl. He pictured a shoplifter, and it was somebody more glamorous, more methodical, than this shaking thing with one foot on the coffee table and the other on tiptoe on the carpet, quivering and annoying the dog.”Phil doesn’t realize how intensely his daughter wants to be free — from the common humiliations of high school, the viscous love of her parents, the lame constraints of their consumer lives. But if he’d only listen, he’d sympathize because he feels essentially the same quiet desperation. While Gwen imagines that she’s a taller and savvier girl named Octavia, Phil fantasizes about featuring blues singer Belly Jefferson in a bold new radio show that “would be broadcast everywhere [and] embody the American outlaw spirit.”As Americans have been realizing for a long time, there is no more territory to light out for, and this is a story about how corrosive that outlaw spirit becomes when it ferments in the tightly sealed confines of contemporary life. Jumping between parallel story lines, Handler is just as sensitive to the frustration of overregulated teens as he is to the weariness of overscheduled executives. An extended riff on Phil’s big business meeting offers Handler a chance to satirize the annoyance of travel, the incompetence of Phil’s secretary, the vanity of his very rich boss. If these are not particularly fresh subjects, they are, at least, delivered with Handler’s typically arch tone.But who is narrating this novel?That’s a surprisingly complex problem, which adds some zest before the plot grows tragic. A first-person narrator opens the story by crashing Phil and Marina’s Fourth of July party — an allusion to our dead spirit of independence — but this voice is never identified. One moment the narrator is an admiring acquaintance of the Needles; another moment he enjoys unimpeded access to these characters’ thoughts and feelings. Sometimes he’s physically present; other times, he’s reporting on events from what sounds like decades or even centuries later. Every few pages, he reminds us that the Needles (and we) lived in a particular historical moment:“At the time this story takes place, the bridge was called the Bay Bridge.”“The people who had the idea would end up very wealthy, which was how winning was gauged during this era of American history.”“It was hard not to watch any television that was turned on, as it always was during this era.”That affectation becomes increasingly funny, even as it reminds us of the peculiarity and the impermanence of our own lives.It’s also curious to see that Handler has sprinkled in wry comments about racial attitudes in the early 21st century. After all, “We Are Pirates” is his first book since his problematic gig as host of the National Book Awards in November. That evening was drolling along well enough until his wink-wink sense of humor betrayed him into delivering a racially tinged “joke” about Jacqueline Woodson, the African American author who had just won the Young People’s Literature award. His crude remarks cost him $100,000 in compensatory charity and an elegant skewering by Woodson a few days later in the New York Times.He comported himself afterward with sincere remorse and seems to have escaped any permanent damage to his reputation, but now these self-conscious cracks about race in “We Are Pirates” feel radioactive, as when he tells us: “Just about everybody else, by the way, in this book is white.” Later a woman screams “the way the appearance of a black man makes everything suddenly scary.” When bleeding-heart liberal Phil needs help, he’s happy to see that the police officers on hand are black. “They would work hard and ruthlessly,” he thinks, “twice as hard, due to injustice.” At a coffee shop, “the guy with bloodshot eyes returned and stretched his hand across the counter to greet the other guy in a knocking, clasping ritual believed at the time to be favored by black people.”Handler is doing something treacherous here with his signature irony: simultaneously enacting and mocking the latent racism in enlightened white society. This isn’t a significant aspect of “We Are Pirates,” but it’s a hazardous reef he could easily have sailed around. During this era, plenty of white novelists never mention black people at all — a bizarre, reality-warping omission for which they receive little criticism.Perhaps it’s a remnant of that American outlaw spirit that tempts Handler to risk these satiric jabs. He can always prance away, pretend it was all just meant in fun — never mind. But his young heroine, Gwen, can’t critique her society so deftly or from such a secure position. Her isolated mind swells from discontent to rage. As the story progresses, she’s seduced by the moldy pirate tales she reads at an old folks home where she’s forced to “volunteer” as penance for shoplifting. When you’re a pirate, Gwen discovers, “you can do whatever you want. Go anyplace.” What Babbitt or Rabbit or teenage girl wouldn’t be heartened by that notion? “It is this philosophy that had sent Gwen bolt upright in bed,” Handler writes. “One day you have taken enough, and you begin to take it all back.”Discouragement is everywhere when everywhere is mapped and watched and regulated. “There’s no pirates now,” Gwen knows — but “she did have the spirit of rebellion.” And soon she has collected a small but rowdy crew of fearless sailors who will be “the scourge of the San Francisco Bay Area.” For a few magical days, anything seems possible in the well-rigged ship of her imagination.But the modern world is so adept at foiling pirates or independence of any kind. Gwen can parrot the salty language of those classic sea tales, but when she tries to launch her own adventure, she slips from farce to bloodbath, from J.M. Barrie to Quentin Tarantino. “The misdeeds of impulse” multiply rapidly in this gory plot hatched by young people whose moral sense has been infected by “the awful howl of vengeance.”That’s the tragedy Handler signals in this dark and whimsical novel: Yes, we are pirates, but we’re chained on barren land. Has that theme ever been explored in such a weird mixture of impish wit and tender sympathy?This review first appeared in The Washington Post:

  • Ryan
    2019-05-26 04:01

    I was lied to. Not enough swash buckling.

  • Chris
    2019-05-27 08:10

    This was originally published on The Scrying OrbOK, I did not like this. But what makes it rare is that, unlike most books I don’t like, this one is actually well written. Handler can write a character sketch and spin a phrase.There’s even an effective twist that I still found fun/surprising at the end of the novel when I no longer cared about anything and just wanted to finish. He just can’t write a believable plot or acknowledge the reader can only spend so much time with blandly reprehensible characters.Pirates alternates between fourteen year old Gwen Needle and her dad, Phil. At first, this seems like it is going to be a tale of oblivious father and teen angsty daughter at odds that eventually bond/appreciate each other. But it is quickly revealed that Phil is actually a passive misogynist prick who thinks the world is owed to him and cares very little of his family beyond the happiness / convenience they can supply him*. Gwen has more than average teen angst when the reader realizes that she actually does have shitty parents. Unfortunately, the sympathy this garners Gwen morphs to baffled disbelief when it turns out she basically has the psychosis of a school shooter and she starts knifing fools with impunity.Back to Phil: The book spends a lot of words on this asshole. As his sliminess is further revealed, as his terrible outlook on women is explored, as his martyr complex deepens whilst he remains oblivious to his privilege… it’s too much. There’s only so much undeserved self pity I can handle. Whine whine whine. He never learns and his plotline is pointless and could be excised almost entirely from this already slim book.And back to Gwen: As punishment for shoplifting, our heroine is forced to volunteer at an old folks home. She starts hanging out with a dementia-riddled old navyman and after borrowing all his old seafaring books, starts harboring fantasies of piracy……and assembles a ‘crew’.…and steals a ship.…and launches a revenge-crusade upon all that have wronged her by pillaging the San Francisco bay.This is completely ridiculous.She’s fourteen, not eight. The Bay** is tiny, what are you actually going to get away with? Why did anyone, other than the old man and best friend, possibly join her? Why is she suddenly capable of remorseless, senseless murder? Note to all readers, children, writers: Having a passive, non-dad does not make it okay to kill, nor is it reason enough to maintain reader empathy with a stone-cold killer.And here lies the crux of the book, and why it does not succeed.*There’s a sort of murky almost-theme about people being emotional pirates — pillaging other people’s feelings for their own gain. It’s not well explored but kind of vomited up by Phil’s POV towards the end of the book.**While it was pleasantly meta reading a book taking place on the 38 bus while riding the 38 bus, the novel does not do a good job of realizing San Francisco. Phil drives from LA to SF… and crosses the Bay Bridge (for plot convenience), which is in the east, not south. Despite living on the Embarcadero, Gwen does not know of the sea lions on Pier 39 until events in the book. Even Geary Street, the road that the 38 travels down is poorly described — Handler makes it quiet and seedy, and while it’s kind-of-maybe-slightly seedy at a few points, it’s bustling almost from beginning to end. Not quiet.

  • Wart Hill
    2019-06-18 05:16

    you can read this and other reviews at Things I Find While ShelvingI received a free ARC via NetGalleyUp until now, my only experience with Daniel Handler has been Lemony Snicket. It’s good to know his books for adults are just as strange, if a little more on the holy wtf? side than his books for kids. And you can tell he’s the same author, his quirks kind of shine through - most notable, a few times he says “at this time in American history” and then goes onto explain what goes on at this time in American history. Makes me think of Snicket’s “a word which here means”.Ah, Snicket. Ask the right questions, yeah?The question here is: What the fuck do I say about this book? How do I explain how it crawled into my head and wrapped itself around my brain, sinking in. The characters and all their multitude of mistakes, their growth and their set backs. It’s a different sort of book, very strange, difficult in some places. I honestly am not sure how best to articulate my thoughts and feelings about this book, beyond saying the title very much sums things up.Yes, there are pirates.Phil wants to be a pirate on the airwaves. Wants to broadcast programs about American outlaws. His focus is on his work, but it isn’t just his family that falls by the wayside. He tends to miss what’s right in front of his face, gets lost in his own head somewhere.His daughter, Gwen, just wants life to be different. She’s sick of the one she leads, and she wants something else. So she and her new friend, an aid at an old folks home, a boy who has a crush on her, and a senile old man to steal a ship and become pirates on the bay.Being a pirate is a lot more real than you’ll expect. Or, it’s a lot more real than I expected. In a good way. Because then you’ve got these people who have no real clue what they’re doing struggling to survive the life they chose based on adventure stories.Except life isn’t an adventure story.This book is. Different. Good. Interesting. A little strange.

  • Rashika (is tired)
    2019-06-22 06:15

    ***I literally have no idea what to rate this book***This was, my first book by Daniel Handler. I’ve read all the books he has written as Lemony Snicket but none that he has written as Daniel Handler. I must say, I am shocked. I guess this is how JK Rowling fans felt when they read The Casual Vacancy expecting it to remind them of their(our) beloved Harry Potter series but instead got something else. I can see his signature humor in this book but it’s darker in ways the humor in The Series of Unfortunate Event books weren’t. At first I was so thrown off that I had to take a break. Then I picked it up again ready to give it another shot and I was soon sucked it. I read the first half a lot quickly than I had expected but when I came to the second half, I was shocked again because it is then the darkness in these characters emerged. I guess I was so thrown off because you don’t imagine these kids could do something so bad but then they do and you’re shocked and a little outraged that the author would make them do something like that but in the end, I understood.In the light of recent events involving the author, I was more than a little hesitant going into the book, not even accounting for the fact that I was completely unprepared for the journey Handler would take me on. I have to say, I still haven’t quite made up my mind about the book. Is it absolutely brilliant or is it just a horrid book?I think it may be a mix of both. I believe the brilliance lies in the way the author exaggerates the experiences of these characters yet he mixes it with a heavy dose of reality. This book can be divided into the real and relateable and the exaggerated and perhaps a tad gruesome. Which is why I think this book isn’t for every reader. Some people will love the book and others will hate it.It’s hard for there to be any middle ground in terms of how one will feel about the book not just because of the comedic gruesomeness but also because of the way the author writes the book. His writing style is such that it is bound to confuse the reader, but purposefully. To the point where you might even question what is real, like I did. The author flips between POVs and sometimes, there isn’t a transition. Sometimes you just need to figure out whose voice it is you’re reading. It’s definitely a pain but it also adds a certain character to the story.One of the POVs this book it told in is Phil’s. Some might think Phil to be pathetic and that he is. But to me, he is realistically flawed. He made certain choices (or did he?? Handler never really makes it clear) and maybe they weren’t right but he has reached a certain part in his life where things become dull. He is missing a certain spark from his life and he doesn’t know why. It may be why he does what he does (if he does it). I personally didn’t like him until we got to see him after his daughter disappears. In the beginning I wasn’t really ready to like him but when you see the shock he is in when his daughter disappears. He seems real. He seems like someone who isn’t sure what they want but at the same time he cares about the people in his life, he cares about his daughter. He may not be fast on his feet, he may not have even helped the investigation, he may have just stayed in shock the entire time but the affect the event has on him makes him someone you cannot help but empathize with.Gwen, his daughter, is the second POV the story is written from. She on the other hand is harder to like but in her own way is relateable. She is so brash but at the same time, underneath all that teenage angst, she is someone who believes she is unwanted. She feels like she doesn't matter and what she wants is purpose. She wants something bigger, she wants to feel uncharge. She wants to not care about the things people may say about her and she doesn’t want to care that she may or may not be an unwanted child. Her actions however, make her seem a little psychotic! I don’t want to spoil exactly what happens when she and her rag tag group decide to be pirates and sail off, but believe me when I say it’s a little scary! I had to put the book down for a while before I felt ready to pick up where I had left off.The rag tag group is made of a bunch of interesting characters (who I will let you meet on your own). Their journey is comedic but at the same time it’s terrifying! In some round about way, I can see people’s desperation to get away leading them to do things they might not do otherwise without even considering the consequences.This book though, isn’t really about their adventure as pirates, no matter how much we wish it could be. Instead, this is more of a character driven book, focusing on the characters and their development and seeing how circumstances make them the people they are.So no, this book isn’t so much fun as it is, but I’d still recommend it for those of you who think they are up for a story about people and how deep down, we are all pirates.

  • Teresa
    2019-06-15 09:16

    I thought this much better than Watch Your Mouth, though not nearly as good as Adverbs and The Basic Eight. As with two of the aforementioned, this is a satire of American life with a teenage girl as a main character. The 'real' pirate adventure in the middle is what I didn't care for; I enjoyed much more what came before and after.

  • Althea Ann
    2019-05-27 10:08

    Recommended for fans of Handler's 'Basic Eight' but definitely not for those who only like Lemony Snicket.The book started very slowly for me. Its exploration of the life of a not-very-successful Jewish radio announcer in California reminded me very much in tone of Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue.However, once the focus shifts to the radio guy's 14-year-old daughter, the pace picks up. As in 'Basic Eight,' this book deals with that fine line where things spill irretrievably over the edge. Seemingly 'normal' people do extreme things. The aim is clearly in part simply to shock the reader, but I think there's more than that here too. By showing atrocious things, the book does interrogate our society, in a similar way that Bret Easton Ellis and Donna Tartt have.Fourteeen-year-old Gwen has reached her sullen, rebellious stage. She's been acting out by rebelling in small ways - first shoplifting, then quitting swim team, finding a new best friend... She's also developed a crush on a cute older boy.'Punishment' for her behavior comes in the form of being required to volunteer at an old folks home. While there, an elderly, senile, man's collection of pirate novels inspires her to a course of action that rapidly spins out of control.Many thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

  • Oriana
    2019-06-18 01:56

    THERE IS A NEW DANIEL HANDLER BOOK???????????All apologies to Will Chancellor, whoseA Brave Man Seven Storeys TallI had just started, but everything in my life stops now that I have this beauty in my hot little hands.

  • Jon
    2019-05-26 02:04

    Seen at Bookish Antics!When I was younger, I was a huge fan of Lemony Snicket; devouring A Series Of Unfortunate Events and anything else I could find by the elusive mastermind. When Snicket tried to branch off from his middle-grade books with Why We Broke Up, a Printz winning novel that critics loved, I was surprised to see how irritated I was by it. I decided to give Handler another shot and We Were Pirates sounded like it was totally my drift: a book about PIRATES with a glowing blurb by Neil Gaiman and that explores humanity in a comedic way. I was initially charmed by this one, but I quickly grew tired of this book despite it’s short length.What happens when a teenage girl gets tired of ordinary life? Gwen quickly joins a man with Alzheimer’s and her outgoing friend on a journey to steal a ship and pretend to be pirates. This novel also explores the lack of a relationship between Gwen and her father, Phil who’s fed up with the cards he’s been dealt.What could have been a smart comedy, turned out to be a dull, silly novel with little substance. The characters lack the vivacity that was apparent in Snicket’s novels and are extremely unappealing and unsettling. I really disliked our entire cast of characters and couldn’t find anything redeeming about them. To make matters worse, We Were Pirates borders on offensive making fun of Jewish people’s noses and perpetuating various stereotypes when describing characters. Even though Handler is Jewish himself, it was totally uncalled for and inappropriate, but then again I probably shouldn’t have expected more from the racist man who makes watermelon jokes. Anytime Handler used a stereotype, it just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.This book clocks in at under 300 pages and is relatively short, but it felt much, much longer. The opening of this novel went by at a decent pace, but after that I kept turning pages and pages without making much progress. Each page was a bit of a struggle to get through and I found myself dreading continuing. I eventually decided to skim through the rest of the book and the ending was predictable and poorly constructed. I truly feel as if I had wasted my time reading this one and this novel was nothing like I expected.We Were Pirates is a boldly offensive and unsuitable depiction of humanity’s desire for adventure and how Alzheimer’s affects the lives of friends and family. I think it’s time for me to accept that Handler’s novels aren’t for me and that I shouldn’t bother with them anymore. I’m truly upset about how terrible this novel was and I just can’t get over that Snicket / Handler wrote this.

  • Judy
    2019-05-29 04:49

    Ten years ago I read the first book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning, because two of the girls I was tutoring at the time were reading the series. Lemony Snicket became a huge success but he wasn't real. He was a pen name.I never continued reading the series though I fell in love with Violet, Klaus, and baby Sunny. They are the kind of kids I've loved in fiction ever since I read The Secret Garden and Pippi Longstocking. The real writer behind the pen name is Daniel Handler. He has written six adult books but I had never read any of them.I belong to one subscription book club: The Nervous Breakdown Book Club. For $9.99 a month I get a book in the mail, sometimes paperback, often hardcover. These are books of all types: under-the-radar books from new young authors, indie press releases, and occasionally hot new literary novels like Alexander Chee's The Queen of the Night. That is how I happened to have We Are Pirates on my shelf and on a whim, grabbed it to read.I am so glad I did! Even though the book is for adults and has an absurd title, the heroine Gwen is the 14-year-old daughter of a struggling radio producer in San Francisco. In a moment of teen rebellion, fueled by unhappiness at home, she goes nuts shoplifting and gets caught.Through her own series of unfortunate events, Gwen runs away with her soul-mate/bestie, a senile old man, and the little brother of the guy she has a crush on. They have decided to become pirates.Don't ask. If life has become too serious, if the election news is getting to you, if you are depressed about climate change, just read this incredibly improbable book.Did you ever read High Wind in Jamaica? Or Bloody Jack by L A Meyer? Two of the best books ever with female kid pirates. Gwen reminded me of them.

  • Figgy
    2019-06-24 02:00

    Actual rating 3.5 starsWhen trying to think of something to compare We Are Pirates to, the closest thing that comes to mind - in terms of dark humour, characters, and world building - is American Beauty.The book itself isn't quite what the blurb suggested, with the actual piratey adventure beginning only after the halfway mark, and not lasting very long at all. But, where I had gone into this book thinking it would perhaps be a cheesy, feel-good family ride, I was mistaken.Here there be darkness.The rest of this review can be found here!

  • KL (Cat)
    2019-06-03 04:53

    The majority of reviews are negative, but recently I've read an interview where Handler says "Over the years, the idea of the novel [WAP] was further shaped by noticing a certain type of fury in some adolescent girls" and quite honesty I am sold.

  • Anita
    2019-06-26 06:16

    This and other reviews at have been waiting for this weird and wonderful work to be published for years. Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite book of all time is Daniel Handler’s Adverbs, and while We Are Pirates is entirely different, it’s packed full of all the usual things that make Handler’s work brilliant. Powerful, funny prose that catches you by surprise with its unique ability to frame reality, a collection of believable characters that still somehow verges on the absurd—and, most importantly, an unusual, whimsical premise that gives the reader a view of our world via a lens of the extraordinary.Troubled by parental oppression and plagued by the urge to plunder, fourteen-year-old Gwen Needle gathers an Alzheimer’s patient, a lovestruck boy, a Haitian nursing home attendant, and her new best friend into a group of pirates—real pirates, attacking and pillaging from their stolen ship in the San Francisco Bay. Meanwhile, her father is struggling to pitch an idea for a radio show, resist the temptation of his young assistant, and, hopefully, get his daughter home safely.As a longtime fan of Handler’s, I appreciate the subtleties in this novel more than anything else. Handler has this delicious habit of creating inside jokes with the reader by reusing phrases, imagery, and snippets of dialogue, all while hearkening back to traditional pirate lore and dropping in other relevant allusions.For example, the two teenage girls (those “wenches”) often encourage one another with a hearty “verily” during their exploits. Whenever possible, everyday situations are likened to life on the high seas in unexpected, sometimes ridiculous, but always enlightening ways. The storybook-fueled inspiration for their pirating journey could have been lifted right out of the plot of Don Quixote, complete with senile old man who has a somehow richer perspective on life. And the further you sail into the book, the stronger the parallels become, and the more familiar you feel with the characters, the author, and the story.Daniel Handler recently stated in an interview: "[F]or the life of me I am mystified by the appeal of novels showing us the Way We Live Now. ... [M]ost of all I am interested in the Way We Don’t Live Now, a book with the essential strangeness of great literature. The strange illuminates the ordinary. But somebody tell me, please, what the ordinary is supposed to illuminate."This is the key thing about We Are Pirates that I think some initial negative Goodreads reviews are missing. By being strange, We Are Pirates illuminates the ordinary. We don’t need a story about pirates to understand the relationship between an angst-ridden teenage girl and her frustrating parents, but doesn’t that make it so much more fun? Doesn’t it cast the usual family dynamic in a new, exciting light? Doesn’t it teach us, after everything, that perhaps we all have a little bit of the pirate spirit in us? I say “verily.”“We steal the happiness of others in order to be happy ourselves, and when it is stolen from us we voyage desperately to steal it back. We are pirates.”There is currently no other book like this one on the market. It has all the intrigue of an old-fashioned pirating tale without being antiquated, the reality of the family life without being supremely dull, the childlike pursuit of adventure without being a kids’ book, and the darkness of a historical drama without being some throwaway thriller. For skeptical Snicket fans—you’re right, it’s not A Series of Unfortunate Events—but I assert that it is so, so much better.

  • Cisco Covino
    2019-06-26 01:47

    This is easily the worst book I've ever read and I'm usually pretty generous with my appreciation of different stories, even if they're not my cup of tea. I wouldn't even bother writing a review of this, but I thought that just maybe, if somebody was on the fence about reading this and this review helped dissuade them, then it'd be worth it.First off, I wouldn't have rated this book if I hadn't finished it (which is why I rarely rate books below three) but by the time I realized I wanted nothing else to do with this book I was basically stranded with nothing else. It's only redeeming quality is that it isn't longer, so I figured I'd finish it to see if the end was truly as bad as it seemed it was going to be. SPOILER ALERT: it was.- While I don't think characters need to be likable, these character were just the worst; however, much worse, they weren't slightly believable. They were walking plot-devices with no personality beyond "aspiring George Saunders character." Nothing they did felt realistic and so even the more outlandish parts of the book felt totally inconsequential. - Speaking of inconsequential, the plot is idiotic. It feels it was thought up and mapped out by a 12-year old.- The portrayal of Alzheimer's is ridiculous. I won't hold that against the author; I don't think it's offensive or anything, just disappointing. But beyond that, everything he does is preposterous, from his dialogue to his ability to run away with a bunch of kids. This could've been an interesting character, but the author could've done some first-hand research rather than google a quick list of Alzheimer traits and turn it into a cartoon character.- Okay, I'm not a parading activist--and a few months ago when Handler made that watermelon comment, I thought it was VERY misguided but not necessarily endemic of racism--but this book made me uncomfortable with it's comments on race and religion and casts the author's previous comments in a much more disturbing light. The book abounds with lame Jewish stereotypes and extremely awkward comments about black people. Things like "they bumped fists, the way black people would at the time of this story" (rough paraphrase), or talking about black hoodlums, etc. There's more, nothing hugely "oh-my-god-that's-racist!" but plenty of times I'd push back from the book going, why the heck would the author ever feel the need to include this, especially since it impacts the plot ZERO percent.- Finally, the author repeatedly uses this dumb-ass refrain clearly ripped from Vonnegut: something like "X, back during the time of this story, was a ____________." If he wants to use blatant imitation, at least make it appropriate. The story is being narrated by a guy about a month after the events of the story, so it makes no fucking sense whatsoever.God, I hated this book. Don't read it. It isn't this-is-so-bad-it's-fun-bad, it's just shitty-bad.

  • nick
    2019-05-31 07:14

    The basic premise is a disaffected teenager decides to steal a boat with her friend, an old man with serious dementia and an orderly from a nursing home and become pirates in the San Francisco bay in the style of the golden age of piracy.However because the book does not shy away from the brutal and murderous realities of piracy, it reads as two 14 year olds with the psychotic mentality of school shooters kidnapping a seriously mentally unstable old man with no real plan whatsoever. The commitment to real world consequences of the goofy premise just starkly highlights the absurdity of the actions taken.Half of the book is from the point of view of the girl's father, a weak self obsessed man that is revealed to have few redeeming qualities. I did not really enjoy spending so much time with this character and feel like it could have been greatly reduced. The shifting perspective was also inconsistently implemented and was occasionally disorientating, especially where it also jumped in time. To my great disappointment I did not enjoy this book. I was excited by the premise, by my enjoyment of Handler's other work and by the intriguing beginning but unfortunately it didn't deliver on the promise of any of this for me.

  • Frances Sawaya
    2019-06-01 09:49

    What did you think? Do I give this a 2? a 3? a 4? Can't give a 5; 1 is too harsh. Average seems correct. No, no, the writing is really above average. But the statements about life are off the mark, so it deserves a 2. Average = run of the mill. This book certainly isn't that. Damn and blast and yo-ho-ho...I finally settled on a 4-star rating because this book made me think about my life and life around me and beyond. Some reflections:1.) Lots of irony in that Gwen/Octavia was punished for theft yet her father was guilty of greater thefts and went unpunished (at least on the surface). 2.) Money to Manny meant "We could buy a clear, bright sky." Not so fast, grommet.3.) The sadness of senility --- "He looked so done and lonely, sitting in an open boat on a sea that had no friendly shore." A metaphor for virtually every character in this book.4.) "We steal the happiness of others in order to be happy ourselves, and when it is stolen from us we voyage desperately to steal it back." We are pirates." Not so fast, Handler. Sometimes when my happiness is plundered, especially by small time politicians in small time settings, I move on and dump the lot with nary a look back. Can't be a pirate in that context.5.) "Murder will out." Can what is done at fourteen be pushed to the side like " furniture in a ballroom?" I think not .As 5 is my favorite number I will stop after those 5 bullets and go to work in the garden and mull more over this book.

  • Sarenna
    2019-06-21 05:17

    I tried, but I just could not seem to get past page 50. That's my new rule. If I can't make it past page 50, I move on. Too many books, too little time. Not sure why it didn't click for me. Just didn't.

  • Homa Lezgee
    2019-06-06 08:48

    I bought "We Are Pirates" for 16 euros after reading this by Neil Gaiman on the cover: “The strangest, most brilliant offering yet from the mind behind Lemony Snicket”. Other quotes included “dazzling…exuberantly funny…gorgeous”. After reading the book, I felt totally betrayed and for the first time ever, I sensed the urge to burn each and every page of a book (the object I most value in my life). First of all, that Neil Gaiman quote obviously plays with the emotions of people like myself who adored Lemony Snicket’s "A Series of Unfortunate Events" when in truth the contents of the present book have nothing in common with the Lemony Snicket books. Secondly, I personally spend a lot of time trying to figure out whether a book is funny or not or whether it has any funny elements and the blurbs on this one certainly promised comedy, though there was absolutely NOTHING to laugh about inside, certainly nothing to “laugh out loud” about as one quote on the back cover said. Why should the publishers promote the book as something, which it obviously isn’t? I felt I had been lied to and deceived. I can understand that some people prefer to read gruesome bloody books for adults with explicit sexual references but that was certainly not what I was looking for and it was certainly not what the cover promised. I can no longer have any respect for Bloomsbury Circus. Although I had concluded that the book was not what I expected by the second or third chapter, I read on in the hope that something would change but it only got worse and worse until it reached a point where it could not get any worse. I finished the book with a sense of utter disgust. None of the characters felt real to me and the shocking actions that took place in the second half of the book did not seem logical. I will definitely not read any more books for adults by Daniel Handler.

  • Kari
    2019-06-04 06:10

    This is the first Daniel Handler, not as Lemmony Snicket, book I have read. I was drawn to it by the quirkiness of the Series of Unfortunate Events and the reviews of Handler's Why We Broke Up. It also didn't hurt that Neil Gaiman has a quote about the book on the front ;-) Fans of the weird and strange Alex Crow or Grasshopper Jungle type will like this as well as fans of the bizarre. I will be honest and say I found it hard to get into the book and like Gwen. However I am happy to report it is worth waiting to be grabbed by a character. Wow! The ending.....

  • Jane
    2019-06-12 03:07

    There are some magnificent chunks of text in this, and I have nothing against the idea, but the story really just doesn't work. It's ambitious to write horrible, random crimes in such a whimsical fashion, but for me it was so jarring I couldn't believe that it was real (even within the context of this fantastical world).

  • Oniros
    2019-05-27 05:00

    A ratos me ha parecido bastante lento y confuso, pero dar menos de cuatro estrellas a la prosa y los personajes de Handler sería pecado capital.

  • Elise C
    2019-06-08 06:58

    2.5/5. Some good ideas, surprisingly dark at times. Confusingly written and very slow to get into.

  • Autumn
    2019-06-17 02:03

    I love Daniel Handler. He has a wonderful writing style. This story is funny, and dark, and complicated. But simple. Can we escape? Will they escape? From what? OE: language, etc.

  • Clare Snow
    2019-06-04 07:01

    I liked Gwen's parts, I was bored stupid by her dad's parts. I finished part 1, then read a spoiler (view spoiler)[about their violent pirating misdeeds (hide spoiler)] and I'm not sure I care anymore. Sometimes I'll seek out a spoiler if I'm a bit bored with a book and it might reinvigorate my will to finish, but not so much here.

  • Nicole Overmoyer
    2019-06-25 10:17

    (I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest and original review.)

  • Kirsty
    2019-06-10 05:03

    I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.Before I get properly into this review, I would just like to address the highly differing opinions floating around about this book. It seems that some people have jumped in to read this book due to it being by Daniel Handler - AKA Lemony Snicket - and this has led to some disappointed readers because this is totally different to those works. It seems most people who have allowed for this, or have not picked it up for that reason, seem to like this book a lot more. This is just a general rule from what I have noticed. All this said, I have never read anything by Lemony Snicket, and I'm not sure I'd describe myself as liking this book. It entertained me - nothing more, nothing less.We Are Pirates is very different to anything I have ever read before. At times, and mainly during the first part I might add, I found that this book made very little sense. In the second part of the book, in some ways things made more sense, and in other ways made even less than the first part did. I honestly found myself frowning at this book at times. The narrative shifts between two perspectives, one being a young girl called Gwen. I liked Gwen at first and I actually felt sorry for her occasionally, though most of this admiration disappeared once she got mixed up with a girl named Amber. I found Amber annoying and frustrating, but more on that later. The other perspective we saw in the narrative was of Gwen's father, Phil. I found I hated Phil for the first half the book, but as the plot progressed he began to redeem himself, especially in the book's closing chapters.Part of my problem with this book was my lack of ability to actually relate to any of the characters. I almost did with Gwen, but then the intrusion of Amber stopped it happening. Meanwhile, Amber just evoked hatred in me, in my eyes she led Gwen astray and to everything that happens in the second half of the book. Gwen's father Phil was a complete moron who had almost no clue about his daughter's life, also being self-absorbed and irritating along with it. I found I hated Gwen's mother even more, however. She had an unrealistically little idea about her daughter's life, and was too distracted by her own obsession of painting to notice much about her husband or daughter. I found myself literally wanting to slap her around the face on more than one occasion.So with all these negative points, you must be wondering how I could have rated this book three stars? By my standards, that means a decent read and possibly worth checking out. The answer to the question is relatively simple - Daniel Handler is a fabulous author. The actual writing was brilliant to read, and was of great quality. It's not his fault if I found the plot and the characters irritating... well, I suppose it is, but for the most part it is clearly just down to my individual taste. I must say, the ending was also brilliant, the last couple of chapters and the twists and turns that occurred really gripped me and helped redeem this book in my eyes.In conclusion, if you are able to consider that this is very much adult fiction, contains mature themes and you are also able to read a ridiculous plot featuring irritating characters without getting annoyed then you may really like this book. The pirate aspect of the book works well, and is part of the more gripping aspect of the book for me. I definitely don't recommend this book for everyone, but if you are fine with all of this, then you may find you really enjoy this book. Also, the final cover for this book is spectacular.