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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate…
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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Lemony Snicket

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11,587318233 (3.67)190
Member:booksandwine
Title:The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
Authors:Lemony Snicket
Info:Scholastic, Inc. (2000), Paperback, 162 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1999)

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» See also 190 mentions

English (306)  French (3)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (314)
Showing 1-5 of 306 (next | show all)
This is a realistic fiction and fantasy book tells the story of 3 siblings who lose their parents in a fire. They are then sent to their live with their distant relative Count Olaf, who lives in a scary mansion and only wants their parents money. He cannot access their money though, because it is only available to the kids once they become of age. He is evil and makes the children do chores and even hits them. Olaf creates a plan to have a play in his backyard and force the eldest Bouldelaire girl to marry him. The children do not figure this out till the day of the play, and nobody else believes them. Olaf traps their baby sister in a crate hanging from his tower, and threatens them saying that she will die if the eldest girl does not marry him. So they go through the play, and he reveals that he is now really married to her, and everyone who is watching the play is horrified. But she then says that she wrote her signature on the marriage papers with her left hand, which is not her dominant hand. So it was not legal. Olaf and his friends then disappear when the lights are mysteriously turned off.
  jresner | Apr 21, 2015 |
The first book in the Series of Unfortunate Events is a great book with creative narrative and an adventurous story. Throughout the book the narrator pauses the events of the story to talk to the reader. Conversations are often held with the reader going on tangents about small facts in the book. For example, at the very beginning of the book the narrator starts by saying, “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.” The book also has a great sense of adventure. The three siblings in the book are constantly in danger due to Count Olaf and the action makes the reader feel like they are in danger too. The main idea of this story is dealing with tragedy. ( )
  pduste1 | Apr 20, 2015 |
Not my cup of hemlock. ( )
  librisissimo | Mar 26, 2015 |
I think children can handle the creepy factor better than adults, and I think the author knows this. As adult readers, we may cringe seeing the child protagonists placed in such awful predicaments . . . but for how many children is this either sadly cathartic or pure escapism, too far removed from reality to be more than thrilling distraction? So, no, I don't have a problem with the "dark" or "creepy" story. Not at all. As other reviewers have said, the precocious children versus the wicked and/or stupid adults is reminiscent of Dahl.

I don't rate this higher because I found it rather predictable and a bit bland. The three Baudelaire children, while given distinctive traits: Violet, the oldest, likes to invent things, Klaus, the middle child, likes to read and Sunny, the baby, likes to bite - they never show any depth beyond these initial concepts and they don't really stick in my mind. Count Olaf, the villain, is an eccentric old actor who abuses the children, drinks too much wine, and even plots to trick Violet into marrying him - all so he can steal their inheritance.

I was expecting more dark humour from the writing, but it fell flat. I didn't find the narrator pausing to explain words funny, I found it patronizing and annoying. Even as a child I would have been rolling my eyes every time he does that. The whole thing just failed to work for me. Lots of people say the series gets better later on so, I don't know, I may or may not give The Reptile Room a try.

Also, this may be an odd thing for an adult reader to complain about, but it really could have used a few more illustrations. The pictures were far too sparse, IMO and could have added a lot of enjoyability to the book. I've heard Tim Curry narrates the audio version though, so I bet that's a hoot. ( )
  catfantastic | Mar 23, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Snicket, Lemonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Beatrice—darling, dearest, dead.
First words
If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.
Quotations
The children looked from the well-scrubbed house of Justice Strauss to the dilapidated one next door. The bricks were stained with soot and grime. There were only two small windows, which were closed with the shades drawn even though it was a nice day. Rising about the windows was a tall and dirty tower that tilted slightly to the left. The front door needed to be repainted, and carved in the middle of it was an image of an eye. The entire building sagged to the side, like a crooked tooth.
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Book description
After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064407667, Hardcover)

Make no mistake. The Bad Beginning begins badly for the three Baudelaire children, and then gets worse. Their misfortunes begin one gray day on Briny Beach when Mr. Poe tells them that their parents perished in a fire that destroyed their whole house. "It is useless for me to describe to you how terrible Violet, Klaus, and even Sunny felt in the time that followed," laments the personable (occasionally pedantic) narrator, who tells the story as if his readers are gathered around an armchair on pillows. But of course what follows is dreadful. The children thought it was bad when the well-meaning Poes bought them grotesque-colored clothing that itched. But when they are ushered to the dilapidated doorstep of the miserable, thin, unshaven, shiny-eyed, money-grubbing Count Olaf, they know that they--and their family fortune--are in real trouble. Still, they could never have anticipated how much trouble. While it's true that the events that unfold in Lemony Snicket's novels are bleak, and things never turn out as you'd hope, these delightful, funny, linguistically playful books are reminiscent of Roald Dahl (remember James and the Giant Peach and his horrid spinster aunts), Charles Dickens (the orphaned Pip in Great Expectations without the mysterious benefactor), and Edward Gorey (The Gashlycrumb Tinies). There is no question that young readers will want to read the continuing unlucky adventures of the Baudelaire children in The Reptile Room and The Wide Window. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:59 -0400)

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10 yrs+

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