Review: The Bad Beginning

“In this book, not only there is no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.”

The Bad Beginning
Title: The Bad Beginning
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1
Author: Lemony Snicket
Genre: Fiction, Children’s, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
Read: March 2016
Rating:
4-stars-small

the book | the author  | the series

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

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My thoughts:

I heard Netflix will be showing a TV series based on this book series and some of my friends were ecstatic, saying that this series is one of the favorites they used to read during their childhood so I decided maybe I should try this too.

It tells the story of the Baudelaire siblings – Violet, Klaus and Sunny. One day, the three children received news that there was fire in their house. That left them homeless and orphans – their parents had been in their house during the fire. On the brighter (only a bit) side, their parents left them fortune which will be available to them once Violet comes of age. For the mean time, they will be sent under the care of their closest relative. The closest relative, it turned out, is a man named Count Olaf. Count Olaf is as evil as his name sounds, or maybe more. He did horrible, disgusting, horrible, horrible, evil, (and did I say horrible?) things just to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. I won’t go into the details of the horrible (really) things he’d done, you’d have to read them for yourself. Of course he failed, at least for now. This is indeed a very bad beginning, and surely there are more, for the lack of better phrase, unfortunate events coming in the life Baudelaires’ lives.

Five things about this book:

  1. This book looks it’s written mainly for children because of how Snicket throws in some rather advanced words or phrases then describes their meaning based on the context of the story. In my age, I still learned some new words hahaha. But I’m not really sure about the constant wave of the Baudelaire’s bad luck that may not be good for very young audiences. To be fair, he gave more than enough reminders that this book does not really have a happy ending (or beginning, or middle part).
  2. This Count Olaf man is really evil and I hate him and his plans. The people in his troupe looks no less evil than him, too. The Baudelaires’ new guardian can’t even provide their basic needs, like proper place to sleep, maybe? And he has the nerve the make the children do house chores and cook for him and his friends? I mean really, didn’t Mr. Poe even check this person’s background before entrusting the children to him? Speaking of Mr. Poe,
  3. I hated Mr. Poe the moment he disregarded the children when they came asking him for help. I mean, the children came all the way from the current home (if you can call it one) to the bank just to tell him of how horrible Count Olaf is as a guardian and he just brushed them off. He even told Count Olaf had they had gone to see him. He’s obviously not doing a very good job overseeing the children’s concerns.
  4. There’s also the Judge neighbor who, without knowing took part in Count Olaf’s evil plans. I mean, it’s quite obvious that Count Olaf is up to something evil and the adults so oblivious to it. It looks like the children in this story are much more sensible that the adults.
  5. A major WTF moment for me from this book: I know that in some places, if someone who is not of legal age yet wants to marry someone, they need the consent of the parents or legal guardian. But where in the world is it legal for you to marry your own guardian, even if they gave you the consent???

If this book wants the reader to realize that life is generally miserable for some people and the world is full of evil, it certainly didn’t fail. Anyway, I’m going to continue to read this series just to see what happens to the Baudelaires next. I hope something grand and good happen to the Baudelaires in the end but the titles of the succeeding books don’t look so promising.

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