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The Bad Beginning (1999)

by Lemony Snicket

Other authors: Brett Helquist (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
21,051490198 (3.7)264
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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(see all 27 recommendations)

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» See also 264 mentions

English (472)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Italian (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (484)
Showing 1-5 of 472 (next | show all)
The Beauledaire children Violent, Klaus and Sonny are orphaned when their parents are killed in a house fire. The children are sent to live with a distant relative, Count Olaf, a money-hungry theater performer who connives to get his hands on the fortune. Children’s book but interesting world-building ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Feb 2, 2024 |
So do kids like this book? I liked it but I can't imagine reading something like this to my grandchild. Maybe kids are more sophisticated than I was. It's like Grimm's original fairy tales and I guess I read those when I was young and it didn't freak me out. Still. Not reading it to my grandchild. ( )
  dhenn31 | Jan 24, 2024 |
I have no idea why this book/series is so popular. I can see, sort of, why children may love it. Many of the books I loved as a kid were no better, and this has brave, clever orphans (boy AND girl), a cute baby sister, mean ugly villains, disbelieving adults, and a horrible house. The only thing it’s missing is a dog.

But this just doesn’t seem well-written to me. The characters are just caricatures. There’s nothing especially clever about the setup or the world the characters are placed in. There are none of the clever observations about human nature or winking humor or enjoyably silly word games that made Rowling’s books so appealing. I suppose some might find the little asides (by the way, that word means _______) funny and were obviously meant in jest, but I found them annoying. And the forced marriage device plot involving a 14 year old child, with the adult characters’ innuendos about how pretty she is and about the marriage night, was just plain disturbing, not to mention the implication that marriage, once committed to, even under duress, is a lifetime trap.

Hardcover version, picked up at a church rummage sale. I ought to put it in the library donation box, but I'm honestly considering dropping it in the recycle bin instead.

I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Thirteen: any book that relates to bad luck, superstitions, including (but not limited to) black cats, ravens or crows, or the unlucky number 13, either in the title, series, book cover or page count. ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 1, 2024 |
Pretty good for a kid's book. Very black and white, in that the bad guys are just utterly awful human beings with no obvious backstory that got them there, and not so great on strategic thinking. But then, the kids need to be able to figure out the plot and stop it, so not too surprising. ( )
  stardustwisdom | Dec 31, 2023 |
4.5 stars. This book was great. I know it's a children's book, however I question what age would it be appropriate for a kid because for really young readers it could possibly scare them. If I were a 6 yr old reading something like this I would probably be terrified that my parents are going to die and I would have to live with someone like count. The story tells you from the beginning that there's no happy ending to this story and after you start reading it and seeing what the kids go through, you really wish there would be a happy ending but in a way it's good that there isn't. It sends the message that in life there are not always happy endings, and terrible things happen that people have to deal with (even children) but that's life. You take what it gives you and you try to make the most of it. I definitely can't wait to continue with this series and see what else happens with these kids. ( )
  VanessaMarieBooks | Dec 10, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 472 (next | show all)

» 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.
A good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.
If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven't, you cannot possibly imagine it.
I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong. You can look at a painting for the first time, for example, and not like it at all, but after looking at it a little longer you may find it very pleasing. The first time you try Gorgonzola cheese you may find it too strong, but when you are older you may want to eat nothing but Gorgonzola cheese. Klaus, when Sunny was born, did not like her at all, but by the time she was six weeks old the two of them were thick as thieves. Your initial opinion on just about anything may change over time.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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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Book description
When the three Baudelaire children find out about their parent's death they are forced to live with a distant relative, Count Olaf. The witty and intelligent children live miserably with Olaf but have a few tricks up their sleeves. Growing up, I absolutely loved this series. My love began once my elementary teacher started to read it during class time. It's a tradition that I might want to keep up when I'm in my own classroom.
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