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The Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans! (A Series of…

The Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) (original 1999; edition 2007)

by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist (Illustrator)

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12,445341196 (3.68)206
Title:The Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1)
Authors:Lemony Snicket
Other authors:Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
Info:HarperCollins (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned, Favorites
Tags:orphans, plays, children, evil, money, Olaf, Sunny, Klaus, Violet

Work details

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1999)

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» See also 206 mentions

English (331)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (338)
Showing 1-5 of 331 (next | show all)
The first thing I found interesting about this book is that it the pages are made in an old fashion way, it was at first interesting but then it became annoying to turn the pages. The second thing I found interesting about this book is the fact that there is not a happy ending. Overall this book is the complete opposite of what people are used to so if you like that sort of thing or at least interesting this book is for you.
  MrChowder20 | May 3, 2016 |

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire's parents have died in a terrible fire that has destroyed everything the children have, excepting a great fortune that Violet will inherit when she turns eighteen in four years. Until that time, the orphans have been left in the care of a distant relative named Count Olaf, a man intent on obtaining that fortune for himself.

Oh man, I reread this book and a flood of memories came back to me. I actually started reading ASOUE via the public library, and didn't actually read this first book until after I had read about five of the other books in the series- I read most of the series out of order because I had no patience for library waitlists and needed to know what was happening to the Baudelaires immediately. As a result, I've probably missed a lot of information that I would otherwise be privy to- so a reread is in order for a few reasons, not just because the Netflix 13-part series is due to arrive later this year.

Things I picked up that my middle-school self did not:

Count Olaf is a pedophile
Mr. Poe is a terrible caretaker because he doesn't actually care about the children as much as he cares about keeping his promise to their parents (it's not JUST that he's an idiot - also why is a banker and not a social worker in charge of their welfare?)
The children are sent to Count Olaf because their parents were adamant that the trio is sent to the closest relative by location, not by blood- and I am so curious as to why that is. Wouldn't going to the closest relative by blood have caused them a little less trouble as Olaf would have to go on quite the murder spree to go through all of their relatives, although with that guy as the villain I doubt it would have really mattered in the end...
This book is full of dark humor that my 'takes everything at face-value' twelve-year-old self didn't quite catch
I am so pumped to continue reading this series! In order for the first time! Would it be weird if, even though I now own the Entire Wreck, I picked the books out from the library, just for old times' sake? ( )
1 vote Rituleen | May 1, 2016 |
Great story and very well written! As an adult reading this book, I still found it very interesting and was engaged with the characters. I'm interested in reading more of this series! I loved the writing and the writing style. Highly recommended! ( )
  thealtereggo | Mar 29, 2016 |
It's pretty neat. Although the author is constantly warning you, that there'll be no happy ending (and I prefer those these days), I couldn't put it down. ( )
  zombiehero | Mar 25, 2016 |
The Baudelaire children couldn’t be more unlucky. They lose their parents, their home and all their belongings in a terrible fire, and they are sent to live with the mysterious Count Olaf as his wards. His place is nothing short of creepy and he treats them terribly. And that’s just the beginning of their bad luck. Will they be able to thwart his nefarious plan to steal their fortune? Will they have to live with him? How can children protect themselves against adults who are more knowledgeable and who have all the power?

It’s a deliciously wicked tale. And you can’t claim you weren’t warned as both the book jacket and the audio CD jacket clearly warn you this will be unpleasant – even scary. Still children (and adults) will absolutely love it. The audio book is performed by Tim Curry and a supporting cast. Curry is at his best performing this book. His narration made it all the more enjoyable for me. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Snicket, Lemonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snicket, Lemonymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Beatrice—darling, dearest, dead.
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If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.
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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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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:44 -0400)

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