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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1)
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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  214,783 ratings  ·  7,978 reviews
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 o
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 30th 1999 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published January 1st 1999)
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Miranda Kerr-bloom yes you will. im 20 and i enjoyed it immensely. tho i would've loved it more if i read it when i was 12. the thing about this book is that it doesn't…moreyes you will. im 20 and i enjoyed it immensely. tho i would've loved it more if i read it when i was 12. the thing about this book is that it doesn't treat its reader like he or she is dumb... my older sister agrees with me on that.(less)
Kassandra It's pretty good, although it stops frequently to explain words to you (so little kids could read and understand it too).
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanTwilight by Stephenie MeyerDivergent by Veronica Roth
Best Young Adult Books
35th out of 9,403 books — 63,255 voters
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The BOOK was BETTER than the MOVIE
41st out of 1,281 books — 17,225 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I am not a violent man. In my lifetime, I have never been in a fight. I've never seriously threatened anyone with violence, never made anyone feel afraid by my physical presence, never even really seriously considered doing violence to another person.

Having said that, the feelings this book evoked in me were... violent.

Not because Lemony Snicket has written a book where terribly unfortunate things happen to small children - I have no problems with that and in fact encourage it; it builds charact
When I was a child, I learned a thing or two from reading the works of Roald Dahl. The most important of these lessons is that adults are, more often than not, either evil or oblivious and, to co-opt Lemony Snicket's writing style, by oblivious I mean "lacking conscious awareness; unmindful."

As an adult, I have only received mountains of proof substantiating the notion that adults are either evil or oblivious. All you need to do is watch the news or enter the workforce and you too will realize t
So the premise of this book (as the narrator keeps helpfully reminding us) is that this group of three children will continue to have difficult problems to overcome, and every time they succeed in dealing with one problem, another will crop up. In the writing business, this is what's known as 'a plot'.

But then he takes it one step further: in addition to all the difficulties along the way, he assures us that the characters will never break this pattern, and there will be no 'happy ending'. I thi
Nov 22, 2011 Monk rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those Who Missed The Potter Bus
I never really did get into Harry Potter. I imagine that this is viewed as a crime by most everyone on this service. For some it is heresy. But, I refuse to stand shamefaced - Hogwarts just didn't do it for me.

I didn't think this would either.

However, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I am of a somewhat morbid streak, and the Series of Unfortunate Events books, I must say, tickles that grotesque bone in a way most pleasing.

The story of the Baudelaire Children is one filled with tragedy and d
This was fantastic! I read the series when I was a kid and then just now had to reread it for my Children's Lit class! And I'm glad I did! Because eff yeah! This! IS! GREAT!

Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket has such a distinctive tone and writing style, and it's one that I love. He's sarcastic and realistic and cynical and hilarious. Best of all, even though this is absolutely a children's book it treats the reader (who is technically supposed to be a child) as an intelligent human who is capable of
Mark Lawrence
I'm reading through this series with my daughter Celyn (10 years old, very disabled, hence Dad does the reading).

Edit: Finished & reviewed all 13!

So, this is a clever, entertaining book set in a world like ours but populated with bizarre characters and with distinctly dark undercurrents.

Recurring themes throughout the series are:

i) Adults are mindbogglingly stupid.

ii) The narrator, Lemony Snicket, is a character we glimpse in tantalising snatches.

iii) Words that stretch a child's vocabulary
This is the first time I have reread this since the first time I read the series. I listened to the audiobook for this and loved it!
Jason Koivu
Apr 18, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jason by: The Magnetic Fields
Shelves: fiction
Made for kids, but adults like it too! The Bad Beginning is one of those kids' books that doesn't try to "talk down" to their level. Yes, it breaks the 4th wall and assists the reader with more advanced words, often for comedic purposes, but it never feels like the drudgery of a school lesson. This first book in the series concisely sets up the sympathetic main characters and their dilemna, pits them against their colorful arch enemy and sweeps you up in the saga straight away. A most excellent ...more
Okay, I know this is a popular series and all, but frankly, I just don't see the charm. I do like that there's lots of vocabulary lessons in the book, but I don't like that the book is basically about child abuse. No, really. You want to write a kid's book? Fine. You want to write a kid's book about child abuse? Fine. Great even. But for the love, abuse is a serious thing, m'kay? And? AND? THE PART WHERE THE EVIL, GREEDY UNCLE TRIES TO MARRY THE 14 YEAR OLD ORPHAN GIRL?! EW! HELLO?! MR. SNICKET, ...more
I love the entire Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events. This book came out at the most opportune time to offer an alternative to the saccharine niceness of the abysmally ubiquitous Harry Potter, and thank goodness for that (I'm sure the monolithic HP franchise inspired, at least in part, the conception of Lemony Snicket, Count Olaf and the Baudelaires). The writing style encourages readers to question language and the function language plays in our lives while describing the ill-fated liv ...more
Anzu The Great Destroyer
Jun 08, 2012 Anzu The Great Destroyer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: bullies dressed in pink pyjamas
To Beatrice-- darling, dearest, dead.

Wait. What??

Ever since I watched the Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, I've been dying to read the book. Yes, I know I probably loved the movie so much because of Jim Carrey (huge fan). I mean look at him! How can you NOT love it??

I wish the Count Olaf in the book was as funny as Carrey’s version in the movie.

Anyhow, I was sure the original story should be good, and I’m glad I was not proven wrong. I loved everything about the book minus the
Tea Jovanović
Must read! Must read! Dve godine sam jurila informaciju ko drži prava, šetali me od jednog do drugog da bih na kraju sjurila samog Lemoni Sniketa na jednom javnom čitanju/druženju s čitaocima u knjižari Barnes & Noble u Njujorku davne 2002. godine i doživela nesvakidašnje iskustvo... Oko dvestotinjak dece (i njihovih roditelja) sedelo je na podu/stajalo i naizmenično se smejalo ili vrištalo i plakalo na Sniketove imitacije/interpretacije... Kako su deca nekada reagovala na Branka Kockicu sam ...more
I remember being a kid, and feeling powerless in an adult world. where adults acted in ways that seemed inexplicable and capricious to me at the time. I enjoyed this book as a caricature of that feeling, exaggerated to an entertaining degree.

I think the fact that I listened to the audiobook read by Tim Curry increased my enjoyment of the book. I got the impression it was really intended to be enjoyed out loud, and they couldn't have picked a better narrator. (Though I did find myself waiting for
Ugh. Rarely have I read a book so artificial, trite and purposefully unpleasant. I do like Edward Gorey, so I thought that the allusive title would be more in the spirit of the weird and delightfully obscure. However, I found this book to be calculated and unoriginal, with nothing of whimsy or genuine strangeness. In addition, it was clumsily written in a deliberately stilted style none the more charming for being intentional. I don't entirely understand the popularity of this series, but suspec ...more
It was a nice and entertaining read and exactly what I expected from it. Works great as a refreshing read in between the larger books I'm reading right now.
I am not sure why I picked this up - Maybe I was hoping to capture some of the Harry Potter goodness in a different series? Not sure. But I did read this and I found it both irritating and compelling.

The themes were pretty darn adult in this book (series), but the writing was aimed at 7 year olds. The children are told their parents are dead on the first page of the book and that they are to stay with their Uncle Olaf - Who is a bad bad man. The children are pretty much abused by the adults in
While almost everybody I knew was hung up on Harry Potter, I read A Series of Unfortunate Events when it first came out and fell for it immediately. For some reason, I could never get into J K Rowling's writing. There was something about her storytelling voice that put me off, but I was drawn in to Lemony Snicket almost immediately, and it left a huge impression.

Even though it hadn't been that long ago since it was written (a little more than a decade), The Bad Beginning stands the test of time.
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone and Everyone
What can I say? These books are amazing. Lemony Snicket does not dumb things down for children, and for that I am eternally grateful. He uses great words in this book, such as: insipid, aberrant, declaim, predicament, Molotov cocktails, incur, adroit, relinquish, nuptial, posthaste, in loco parentis, and mulctuary. Most of these words are explained in a great, kid-friendly way. A few are not, and that's when the child reaches for his/her dictionary. This is a great way of teaching children new w ...more
East Bay J
I read this in a night while visiting my folks. They went to bed and my mom has all the Snicket books so I thought I'd read one. I'd seen the movie and thought it was great and I've heard nothing but excellent things about this series. I sat down by the wood stove, started reading and, forty five minutes later, I was done.

It was a great forty five minutes! The writing style is so funny and quirky and engaging. The story is superbly paced and the characters are a lot of fun. Whoever this Lemony S
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Dec 25, 2008 Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* by: my mom
wow, loved it!! i really love to see a good work of juvenile fiction. i always feel like there aren't a lot of great kids' books these days ... but this was really good. although the story is dark, it's one of the most hilarious things i've read in my life at the same time. (the irony!!) i also love how the author defines certain vocabulary words; but he doesn't do it in a preachy, dictionary-definition kind of way, which i like. overall, really funny, unique, original, great characters, great t ...more
Quick, entertaining book with smart kids and clueless adults. I wish I'd read this when I was a child.
This review is no good and nothing good will come out of it.

No, No, trust me. I know what I am saying.

Okay may be by the complete tone of this review you may get a glimpse of the way this book is written. But nothing more than that. I promise!

I am not going to tell you about any of the three unfortunate orphans(I know there is nothing like a fortunate orphan, or may be there is, I am not sure so I'll let it be) or the problems that befell them.

So you ask me what am I writing this for? Well, m
Unlikeable, flat, contrived, and joyless. This is for fans of snuff flicks and Dickens. I blame Godard.

I also should add that I think this book enforces a poor lesson for abused kids. I understand the desire for gruesomeness in children's fantasy, but this touches on real world concepts of abusive homes and teaches that seeking help from neighbors, teachers, and librarians will not help you. I'd preferred that the neighbor was killed wanting to help, than the way this book was set up.
What I learned from this book? Oh, only the most important of all life lessons. Home-made grappling hooks rarely succeed, forced marriages can be averted with a simple sleight of hand, and being tragically orphaned is an acceptable excuse for acting ungratefully towards ugly clothing. Ta da. -2/8/2009
Dear Reader,

I'm sorry to say that the book I am reviewing, The Bad Beginning, is an unpleasant and sad novel, while maintaining a humorous and somewhat educational--which, in this case, means it both is funny and makes you smarter--side. From page one, the Baudelaire children Violet, Klaus, and Sunny have a string of misfortunes that turn their lives upside down (a phrase that means their lives are changed). The three Baudlaire children, now made the Baudelaire orphans because their parents died
Erin (Paperback stash) *is juggle-reading*
I didn't know what to expect coming into this one. I've heard a lot about the series, of course, and everything from the cover to the name enchants and drew me in. The style of reading was simple but interesting, with lines boasting ironic humor. The dialogue is fine and the characters - even if a bit black and white - charming. Sometimes the teaching of vocabulary distracted, but is useful for the young reader and a different touch in writing that intrigued at the same time it confounded. Since ...more
A thankfully short book I really don't get what everyone sees in it. I know it's written for children but that constant addition of definitions was annoying. The whole thing just felt a little off. I don't think I'll be reading the rest of the series.
This is such an interesting children's book. It is very dark and not what you'd expect from a book for children.

I love my copy of the book with this cover & in hardback. The character's are three children who seem wise beyond their years.

In a way, this reminded me of the movie "Matilda"(I haven't read the book). Matilda is about a girl who gets treated badly by her family but is incredibly smart and resilient.

This book is about three children whose parents tragically die and they are sent t
Jessica Nicole
I read the first three Series of Unfortunate Events a long time ago, and I absolutely adore the movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s very whimsical, atmospheric, charming, and of course, filled with unfortunate events. The first book of the series, The Bad Beginning, is a delightful tale that reads lightning fast, and though written for middle grade, is clever enough for older readers.

The story follows the Baudelaire children who become the Baudelaire orphans within the first few parents, when th
Kate *~learning to live~*
I am determined to figure out what makes these books so special. But I am also under the impression that it'll take more than just the first one to convince me of the quality.

To say that this book was well written is not entirely true, but to say that it was poorly written, well, I'll leave that up for you to decide.

The book starts off by telling us that the three children, who also happen to be the protagonists of the story will experience unfortunate events until the very end of the series,
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Lemony Snicket had an unusual education and a perplexing youth and now endures a despondent adulthood. His previous published works include the thirteen volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Composer is Dead, and 13 Words. His new series is All The Wrong Questions.

For A Series of Unfortunate Events:

For All The Wrong Questions:
More about Lemony Snicket...

Other Books in the Series

A Series of Unfortunate Events (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2)
  • The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3)
  • The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #4)
  • The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #5)
  • The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6)
  • The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #7)
  • The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #8)
  • The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #9)
  • The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #10)
  • The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #11)
The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2) The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3) The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #5) The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #4) The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6)

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“ know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.” 2198 likes
“I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.” 1792 likes
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