Book Title/Author: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
Publisher/Year: September 1999 by Scholastic, Inc.
Genre: Children’s, Fiction, Fantasy, Middle Grade,
Series: #1 from A Series of Unfortunate Events
“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” (Back Book Synopsis)
I have not read any of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books as a kid, but they have always caught my eye at the bookstore. Now in my mid-twenties, I am making an effort to read the whole series.
I bought this book as a Christmas gift for my 10-year-old cousin who has recently become intrigued by books this year. Before gifting it to her, I wanted to read it so that she has someone to talk about it with (and maybe I will have a new book-buddy).
After reading this, I recommend this book to anyone who liked Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I this that The Bad Beginning would be a great introduction to middle-grade fiction/fantasy and rotten villains for any young reader, ages 8-10.
This is a story about three orphans, who’s parents died in a fire in the family home. Now the children depend on each other and their individual strengths to outwit a sneaky man by the name of Count Olaf — a man who is fraudulently posing as a distant relative for the purposes of stealing the kids’ inheritance.
What I especially liked about The Bad Beginning is that although it’s written for children, it doesn’t “talk down” to their level; it is written for children to understand but in a tone that is informative and mature. The author also sneaks in some vocabulary lessons, which as a child I would have enjoyed (but as an adult, they can come across somewhat know-it-all/snobbish). Just remember the audience the book is written for if you feel this way.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.”
“There are many, many types of books in the world, which makes good sense, because there are many, many types of people, and everybody wants to read something different.” “They didn’t understand it, but like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”
“it is a sad truth in life that when someone has lost a loved one, friends sometimes avoid the person, just when the presence of friends is most needed.”“They didn’t understand it, but like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”
“They didn’t understand it, but like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”
“The book was long, and difficult to read, and Klaus became more and more tired as the night wore on. Occasionally his eyes would close. He found himself reading the same sentence over and over. He found himself reading the same sentence over and over. He found himself reading the same sentence over and over.”