Quick Thoughts: “The Bad Beginning”

“The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)” by Lemony Snicket

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

GoodreadsOther Series of Unfortunate Events books

Source: Borrowed

Summary from Goodreads:

Dear Reader,

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


  •  I could see the appeal of the book but it didn’t work for me.
  • Things are just a bit too dark for me. Dead parents, creepy family member trying to get money, no way out. I realize the books aren’t going to be happy but I was wanting something happy to happen to the kids.
  • I think Snicket was trying to make his books feel like a modern Roald Dahl type of book. Sadly I don’t think he made it.
  • The narrator was a bit annoying. Breaking the fourth wall is hard to do. I don’t like the way the narrator is explaining things to the reader. I prefer when they encourage the reader to figure it out or to look it up.
  • The marriage thing really rubbed be the wrong way. It just feels very icky.
  • I liked that Violet and Klaus are different types of kids. Violet is smart, has an engineering brain, and wants to invent things. Klaus is smart and bookish.
  • The book would be great for younger readers out there who want something a bit dark.

The bottom line? I might try another book in the future simply because of quick they are to read but I wasn’t terribly impressed.


8 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts: “The Bad Beginning”

  1. I LOVE this series. I mean, I haven’t read past maybe the 4th one, but feel like if I had kids they would so get this read to them!

    That being said, I read The Bad Beginning and thought it was cute, but didn’t blow my mind. Then I listened to the audio of the 2nd book (can’t remember title) which was narrated by Tim Curry. Oh. My. Gosh. SO GOOD. I think that’s how these books need to be read: by a creepy, slightly slimy, darker person. If you want to try another one of these, I’d suggest going for the audio.

  2. Can I recommend trying Snicket’s newer series? The first one is Who Could That Be at This Hour?, and I thought it was a better book than the Baudelaire ones. (And I say that as a fan of the Baudelaire ones.) It was more together, and didn’t feel as self-conscious, and Snicket put forth the controversial argument that The Long Secret is better than Harriet the Spy. That is a position I also hold, but I did not think anybody else agreed with me.

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