Friend's Email: Subject:I have found a book that I think you would enjoy
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Bk 1)
The Bad Beginning - A Series of Unfortunate Events, Bk 1 Author:Lemony Snicket 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 r... more »eceive 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.
Some people have said that "A Series of Unfortunate Events" is stupid and boring. These people clearly missed the point of the series.
Admittedly the story line itself doesn't sound all that great: three kids who have a very sad life, and it keeps getting worse.
But the real thrill in the book is how the author weaves this complicated, and tangled mystery throughout, leaving just enough clues to keep you interested. The minute you solve one mystery, three more open up! It is absolutely brilliant! The ones who call this series 'boring' clearly missed the complex subtleties in the story.
The main reason I love this series is the author's way with words. Part of the clues he weaves throughout the books involve word usage. He also occasionally breaks the rules of how a book is written. (For example, in one chapter you have to hold the book up to a mirror to see what it says!) There is a surprise that is wholly unique in each and every book.
And though it may seem strange, I found the series encouraging. The reality is, all of our lives are a bit unfortunate (some more than others) and the books' real moral is how people can overcome all obstacles, even the permanent ones, by maintaining their own self-worth.
As an adult, I didn't find this book or this series nearly as interesting as some of the others in this genre. That aside, I have little doubt that this is perhaps the best of the genre for children. The writing and characters are interesting, and the author takes an ingenious approach toward finding the illusive balance between accessible and challenging vocabulary. Also, each book is only an hour or two long when read at an adult pace, which I consider to be a good length for younger readers. Recommended for getting any child interested in reading novel-length texts.
For the longest time, I hesitated to try this. It looked so dire and black, I just didn't think it was something we should spend time/money/energy on.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the stories are life-affirming. And intelligent. They revolve around themes of good vs. evil, and even show how apathy can allow evil to take the upper hand. And the bonus of it was that my reluctant reader FINALLY got hooked on reading!!
The author has an incredible sense of humor that even I found entertaining. I highly recommend this series.
Lynn T. (lynn3kids) reviewed The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 3
this is one of my favorite books ever.
lemony snicket is very humorous, and gives you the meaning of very many big words without making you feel stupid or like you're being given a lesson.
snicket knows how to draw out a story without making you upset, but just stretching the suspense. i absolutely love the unfortunate events series.
I'm not sure why this schadenfreude for the pre-clearasil set has become so popular but then I never understood the overwhelming popularity of the Harry Potter books. (I was whelmed but not overly so)
This book has it's moments but is dark without the underlying sense that "all will come right in the end" that one gets from other children's books of this type. I particularly liked Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book but in many ways this story is darker, bleaker and less hopeful than that.
I've often thought that younger children can be quite savage in some ways and this book has an appeal to a savage mind. No orphans were harmed in the telling of this tale so I'm guessing that it is acceptable reading for such children but I feel that in some ways it's a surrender to our baser urges and should be discouraged.
I'm a completist and I may read more of this series to fill out my knowledge but I'm NOT sold that this book deserves the popularity that it has gained.
Love The Bad Beginning. This book is so much fun. If you have a child who does not like to read, sit down and read this book with them. Not only will they be hooked, you will be too! I use this book in my class, the kids love it and then want to go on and read the other 12 books in the series. I even have other teachers hooked on the books. This is a must read, grades 5th and up are sure to enjoy it.
I read these books when I was younger and decided to give them a try when they were recommended to me. I understood so much more now that i'm older. And I cried just a little at the poor misfortune these orphans have come upon. It is a wonderful series but So sad.