Book Review: The Bad Beginning

July 15, 2011 Whitney Review 1 Comment

Book Review: The Bad BeginningThe Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #1
Published by Scholastic on September 30, 1999
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Library

Dear Reader,

I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events is like a Pixar movie, entertaining for the kids but enough adult humor for the parents. On both ends it is very imaginative.  The Baudelaire siblings are suddenly orphaned after their parents are killed in a house fire.  Instead of going to the next of kin they are shuttled off to Count Olaf, a relative they have never heard of but lives the closest in distance.  Count Olaf is a bit like Mommie Dearest, the perfect guardian when he has to be but behind closed doors is just plain evil, making the children do impossible chores and presenting them with only one bed.  Wait a minute is this Cinderella?  The real reason for his interest in the Baudelaire children is their large fortune which only the youngsters recognize because let’s face it, adults are idiots.

The Bad Beginning is an excellent Beginning to a promising series.  The characters are well-developed and the plot, while rather unfortunate has nowhere to go but up.  In truth, it’s a bizarre tale but I had to keep reading to learn of their tragic existence and horrific time with Olaf.  The recounting of the three orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny is a very readable, unpleasant story.


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