The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket

The Bad Beginning Book Cover

Rating: 4 Stars

If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.


Plot

The Baudelaire children Violet, Klaus and Sunny are shattered when their parents die in a fire. They feel even worse when they are sent to live with Count Olaf, a distant relative that lives in a dingy house, gives them hard chores to do and treats them terribly. He has only one goal: to get his hands on the Baudelaire’s fortune.

Review

I didn’t read A Series of Unfortunate Events when I was a child. I did, however, see the terrible movie and it put me off of the books. I’m glad I read it at last. The Bad Beginning is a wonderful book. It made me cringe, it made me fear for the Baudelaire’s, it made me want to beat Count Olaf with a stick.

Count Olaf is a horrible, creepy, disgusting man. I wanted to rip out his toenails one by one and hang him head down from a tower to be eaten by crows. He definitely is one hell of a villain.

He reached out a hand and stroked Violet’s hair. “Would it be so terrible to be my bride, to live in my house for the rest of your life? You’re such a lovely girl, after the marriage I wouldn’t dispose of you like your brother and sister.”


I was immediately fond of the Baudelaire children. Sure, they remain a bit one-sided characters, with one defining trait (Violet is the eldest and inventor, Klaus likes to read and Sunny is cute and bites things). Still, the book has a twisted fairy-tale like quality that makes it okay. I particularly enjoyed reading about Sunny. Lemony Snicket manages to pull off writing a cute little kid without making her annoying.

She was an infant, and very small for her age, scarcely larger than a boot.


Because I liked the children so much it was very difficult to read about what happens to them. It’s not as if the book doesn’t give ample warning that the story is not a nice one, but what made it particularly harsh was the constant sexual threat Violet was exposed to. I wanted to bundle her up and protect her from those men.

“You’re a pretty one,” he said, taking her face in his rough hands. “If I were you I would try not to anger Count Olaf, or he might wreck that pretty little face of yours.”


What I really liked about the story were the gems of wisdom hidden throughout it. Life is not a picknick, especially not for the Baudelaire children and the book shares some sad truths.

If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how i feels, and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it.


Conclusion

A well-written, dark story with one of the most despicable villains I have ever read. A perfect and short read for a cold autumn afternoon.

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