Title: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Genre: Middle Grade
Release Date: September 30, 1999
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,
I can’t believe this book is almost twenty years old! I first read the series years ago, and I’ve wanted to reread the whole series for a while. I’m finally doing it, and I’m going to read them in order this time (when I was little, I had to read whichever one was available at the library).
I love the writing style in this series. The author, Lemony Snicket, who is a character himself, speaks directly to the reader throughout the book. My favourite parts were when he would explain what a word meant. When I was little, I usually knew the word, and sometimes his definitions were funny, depending on the situation. As an adult reader, I still found this meta-narrative funny.
I also love that the Beaudelaire children are very resourceful. As the series progresses, their problems become more and more complex. This first book is fairly short, but I remember being surprised at how they defeated their horrible guardian, Count Olaf.
The new Netflix TV series of A Series of Unfortunate Events is very good. It even has some surprises for fans of the books, though it does stay faithful to the stories.
Have you read this series? What did you think of it?