Saturday, 6 October 2012

Review // The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) - Lemony Snicket

Published - 30th September1999
Published By - Scholastic
Format - Hardback
Goodreads 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

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is a well loved collection of stories for (I imagine) a younger audience. Honestly, it was never a series that I was very interested in reading. I was 11 when The Bad Beginning was published and in the 13 years since then I had completely forgotten about it. However, I've just moved into a shared house and thanks to my housemate the collection is now partly mine and I have reconsidered. (Mostly because they are short and I wanted some 'light' reading inbetween university books)

As seems to be the case just lately - I was pleasantly surprised by The Bad Beginning! (I'm on a great streak of 'good' books.) Though not really 'light-hearted', the book was fun, uncomplicated and a really quick and interesting read. Throughout the book, the narrator Lemony Snicket, explains various words that have been used and gives their meaning in this particular instance. Granted, at the age of 24 it's a little patronising but considering the target audience, I think it's great!

What surprised me most were the snippets of information that genuinely felt like I was learning something or reading something truly meaningful. Just a few things I picked up on were:-

  • "First impressions are often entirely wrong. You can look at a painting for the first time, for example, and not like it at all, but looking at it a little longer  you may find it very pleasing."
  • "It is a sad truth in life that when someone has lost a loved one, friends sometimes avoid the person, just when the presence of friends is most needed."
  • "By immersing themselves in their favourite reading topics, they felt far away from their predicament, as if they had escaped."

Snicket's writing style is brilliant and the first book is both funny and thoughtful. The Baudelaire children are brave and intelligent and a pleasure to read. I feel terrible about not reading these books sooner but now i've started...keep an eye out :)


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