Book Review – The Bad Beginning

BadBeginnings

Title: The Bad Beginning [A Series of Unfortunate Events 1]

Author: Lemony Snicket

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 141

Rating: 4 Star

Series Review: 1, 2, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

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

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

The description of this book is very apt.

This book though holding a middle grade title it holds the deeper meaning within is sad sad pages. This is a book that will teach children that not all stories have a happy endings. Even though the events are out there, the events in real life do not always end well even if you are just three very cute and interesting children. It breaks the unrealistic idea that all stories have happy endings. Though I like this story and the fact it isn’t happy (I like it in a sad way) I don’t really think that children need to be learning this lesson. I hope the idea kind of goes over their heads. The nice part about being a child is that you have those beliefs that everyone has a happy ending, its growing up and having our own unfortunate events that kill that idea. Better leave things hopeful as long as you can.

Following this train of thought, I kind of wish that this book wasn’t middle grade and had more depth to is in its contents. Another part of me of course didn’t feel this way though because if it was YA or Adult it might completely destroy what a lovely sad story it is at heart.

I loved our three main characters. They each have their own identify and accept those aspects as a definer of who they are. They are really very well together and confident children. Even Sunny, though I hope Sunny’s definer of biting kind of changes as she gets older in the series. Its cute now, but it wont be when she is bigger. I wonder how much the children will age during the course of the books? I love how the children stick together even though I don’t know how realistic that is. Even though they have gone through something horrible, children generally will not get along as much as these, but I suppose that is part of their charms. Their love for each other.

I found our villains greatly dislikeable, which is a good thing. They are very realistic in ways that children going to a new home with people/persons that they have no idea about are truly scary. They are also very realistic in the sense that children going into a new home do not always end up in a good home or even a safe place to live. The other adults that are not ‘the bad guys’ are also dislikeable and frustrating in a realistic way because no matter how often the kids tried to tell people about their sufferings they got dismissed because the adults wouldn’t take what they were saying seriously because of their ages.

The ending of this book was very sad but we already know that it was going to happen. There was never any chance of happiness in these books. The woes of the children are never ending and exaggerated. When the kids think back about all their hardships and include ‘Itchy Shirts’ in the mix with all the other, vastly worst struggles, I had to have a little giggle because that was such a thing children would count as a hardship.

So yes, don’t pick it up if you don’t want lots of suffering and no happy endings. But if you are willing to experience a different kind of middle grade book I think you should give it a go because its enjoyable.

 

Till Next Time…

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