Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: The Bad Beginning

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

Age Group: Middle Grade
Published:  September 30, 1999 by HarperCollins (first published 1999)
Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased


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

My Thoughts:

I absolutely adored the idea of this book, but reading it for the first time at the age of 21 definitely made a difference. Had I read this as a child, I would have, without a doubt, loved it. It's witty and sarcastic and everything I wanted in a book when I was growing up. The description pretty much says it all. It's not a happy book; however, it is quite entertaining.

As an adult though, some of the stylistics things bothered me. For instance, there are larger, more complicated words that are used, and then there is a relevant definition for the word that directly relates it to the story. It was slightly annoying to me some times. Had I read this as a kid, I would have learned a ton of awesome words and known for a fact how to use them.

I really like the premise, but this is one of those books that you can't fully appreciate as an adult (unless you're reading it for the first time with your kid. I would LOVE to read this book with kids.).  So, Lemony Snicket, I am truly sorry I missed out on reading your books as a child.

If you have a reluctant reader or a child looking for something that isn't fluffy kittens and sparkly rainbows, I would definitely recommend picking this one up for them . . . if you haven't already, of course.

Visit the author online.
Buy the book: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 


Jaimie said...

Yeah, my thoughts exactly.

Hogglepot said...

I did read the series as a child, and I loved them. They were unputdownable. I tried reading them again last summer, and the whole vocabulary thing was annoying. They definitely aren't children's books for adults.

Heather said...

I'll probably pass this one up for myself but I might get it for my neice. Thanks for the honest review!

Sarah Allen said...

I adore this book and this series. I think they are very clever, and would recommend them readily. Thanks for the review :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Karla Calalang said...

I only read this book in the series but don't remember it too much.

I'm pretty sure I did enjoy it when I was a kid.

Awesome review. :)

BTW, I gave you a blog award!



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