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The Bad Beginning

(A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  445,485 ratings  ·  18,054 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 August 25th 1999)
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Lucia I don't know. As a kid, I didn't like these. I found them creepy and they went over my head. Now I'm 23 and I found a lot of rather sophisticated humo…moreI don't know. As a kid, I didn't like these. I found them creepy and they went over my head. Now I'm 23 and I found a lot of rather sophisticated humor and even some depth in it. So...maybe you actually need to be older?! (Sort of joking. Sort of.)(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  445,485 ratings  ·  18,054 reviews

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
*I'm not going to rate this, because I've already read this book & stand by my first rating of it.

I adore this story so much & I'm so happy that I took the time to re-read it. It made me feel SO nostalgic reading it. I can't wait for the netflix series!!
Mark Lawrence
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 are
YES!!! The least fascinatingly detailed book in my favorite series! It just keeps getting better and better, folks.

So, for the three misguided people who haven’t read this series - first off, get ON THAT. What are you doing? There is nothing so important in your life that you can’t put it off in order to read this series.

Second, we follow the Baudelaires - Violet, Klaus, and Sunny - through what can only be Very Foreseeably Described as a series of unfortu
Caz (littlebookowl)
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, re-read
For some reason I had the sudden urge to re-read these books... so I decided to start listening to them on audiobook!
I have the 11th book in a physical copy, but I will eventually be picking the rest of them up as well.
C.G. Drews
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This series was my ENTIRE LIFE when I was a small human child. I saved any and all money I received to buy the books (my first collection of matching hardcovers) and listened to them on cassette tape (OKAY GUESS WHO JUST SOUNDS OLD RIGHT NOW) when I wasn't re-reading the physical copies. Hello I even intended to become a famous author myself and write under the pseudonym "Orange Peel" because obviously. So yes. I am a mild fan right here. And I decided I had to reread before the Netflix series c ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Up until now, the three Baudelaire children have lived a fairly lavish life, until a raging fire burns through their home with their parents inside. Their deaths are suspicious and nobody really knows how the fire started in the first place. Now they have nothing left and Mr. Poe must find a relative that’s willing to take on the responsibility of caring for them.

“Mr. Poe opened his mouth to say something, but erupted into a brief fit of coughing. “I have made arrangements,” he said finally,
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket

The Bad Beginning is the first novel of the children's novel series A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.

The novel tells the story of three children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, who become orphans following a fire and are sent to live with Count Olaf, who attempts to steal their inheritance.

عنوانها: «آغاز بد»؛ «شروع ناگوار»؛ «شروع بد»؛ «آغاز شوم»؛ نویسنده: لمونی اسنیکت؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز شانزدهم ماه آوریل سال 2011میلادی

عنوان: آغاز بد؛ ن
Mohammed Arabey
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
We have in Egypt this saying;
"Who sees the Unfortunate Events of others feel solace about his own Unfortunates"
"اللي يشوف ميسفورشنت ايفينتس الناس تهون عليه ميسفورشنته"
So, 2016 wasn't my year -EST, 2011- and now I'm hitting "rock bottom",having "A Series of Unfortunate Events"

So I said, why not give this title a try

"accompanied by this mysterious black cat that sat with me the whole 2 hours read"

It's really dark-fun Misfortune kids Orphans' story..

And a Gothic villain.

And the author himself,
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. This is because not very many happy things happened in the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most ...more
J.G. Keely
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novel, america, humor, reviewed
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
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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
Reynita ★ The Night Reader ★


If you have ever lost some-
one very important to you,
then you already know
how it feels, and if you
haven't, you cannot
possibly imagine it.

I was pretty excited when I read this book because that was the first time I read this book and I also had no idea what the book was about and I quite enjoyed reading it. The book never bored me but the book wasn't really amazing either. it was just fine for me. Neither good nor bad. The characters in the book were pretty int
Brian Yahn
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Easily one of the best children's stories I've read, The Bad Beginning is a high stakes, whimsical twist of a fairytale.

Count Olaf, the antagonist, ruins everything, but in a way that's super fun to read. As the stakes pile on, and bad luck for the main characters becomes the worst luck, and the tension reaches an all time high, the writing still maintains this playful even keel to keep everything fun and enjoyable.

It had me tearing through pages to see just how bad the beginnings got. And I lov
Emily B
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading The Series of Unfortunate Events to help me with a small reading slump. Each book is easy to read and nice and short.

I wanted to read them as a child but never did so this was a perfect opportunity to do so.
Oct 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those Who Missed The Potter Bus
Shelves: humor
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
R.K. Gold
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I feel like I’m finally capturing something that was missing from my childhood. Like there was some gap in my imagination that I didn’t know was there until I started reading this series.

I’ve seen the Netflix series, which only further reminded me that I had never read this series before and had been missing out. I’m in a very exciting part of the journey. The Baudelaires just escaped Count Olaf and his plot to steal their fortune and I find even though I know the basic premise of each stor
Lindsey Rey
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, middle-grade
Even better the second time around!
Sam Quixote
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Baudelaire children - Violet, Klaus and Sunny - are suddenly orphaned when their parents tragically die in a fire. Their new legal guardian? A distant relative, the devilishly conniving Count Olaf, who will stop at nothing - not even murder most foul! - to get his hands on the Baudelaire family fortune. So begins the children’s Series of Unfortunate Events…

I know this is a kid’s book but I surprisingly really enjoyed it - it not only held my attention but entertained me quite a bit too! Eve
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
I think a 3.5 about sums up my feelings. This was a joy (or as Lemony Snicket would prefer, a misery) to reread. I haven't read this book in more than 10 years, so there were a lot of details I had forgotten, but I still love the Baudelaire siblings and how terrifying and sinister Count Olaf still is to me. It is written for younger audiences than the books I usually read, of course, so I might be basing a tiny bit of my rating on nostalgia, but I still loved the experience of getting back into ...more
To Beatrice-darling, dearest, dead.

If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.

I think it is important how a book starts, because that sets the tone for the rest of the book. I myself have been guilty of prematurely-"prematurely" here means "before the time is appropriate"- judging the quality of a book based on it
lauren ❀
UPDATE 20/April/2018
Sooooo I kind of want to reread the entire series because I am loving s2 of the show. Also, I just feel that I would like it more when I reread it.

UPDATE 19/Jan/2017

4 Stars!!!!

I am updating my reviews for all the books in the series because I realized that they are much better than I initially thought. After a while, I realized I really did like this book and it's very unique. I know I still would have liked it more as a child but I still really like it now. It's so sad and t
Jason Koivu
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing book!!

"They didn't understand it, but like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it isn't so."

Nothing happy happens in this book, but am so happy to say that you ought to read The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket.
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Glad to say these lived up the the expectations of my 10-year old self. Off to check out the show!
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
UPDATE 6/1/18 - So I read this with the kids, and they were completely against the idea of dad reading to them. They did all they could to prevent it from happening, but seeing as how I am a grownup and have the absolutely glorious authority to make rules in my house, we read this book together as a family. And boy oh boy oh boy did these kids love this book.

Every night they begged and begged for another chapter. Please, Dad! Just one more! We have to find out what happens! By the end, I was re
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Mayke ☕️
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own-read
Review to come and other reviews on my blog (bio)

I never read these books, but saw them everywhere on goodreads and they looked fun. Well, fun not. This series is tragic and sad. I felt so bad for the kids and you wish it will all come to a good end. It was very quick to read and the story was great. I can imagine children picking these up and loving them.

Kate (GirlReading)
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
People have always told me that this was a dark series, but I didn't expect it to be this dark! This is a children's book series?! :') It was great, I really enjoyed it!! I can't wait to carry on with this series, which to be honest, I wasn't expecting to feel! It was such an interesting, short and quick read and thankfully didn't traumatise me or scar me for life like the movie did at eight years old... ...more
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See top shelves…
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:

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)

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