‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning’ by Lemony Snicket


‘Dear Reader,
I am 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 even 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’

When I was a child, ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’  was one of my absolute favourite book series, so you can imagine how utterly thrilled I was at Netflix’s new adaptation of the books. I thought the series was brilliant and fell in love with the story again to the point where I decided to reread the books. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because I’d honestly forgotten just how much I adored this series.

The great thing about ‘A Series of Unfortunate Event’ is how incredibly interesting the character of Lemony Snicket, the narrator is. The writing style is so very unique and drew me in completely from first reading the blurb. Snicket tells the story of the grim tale of the Baudelaire orphans with such an intelligent sincerity that you are unlikely to want to look away from the book. In fact, for probably the sixth or seventh time, I read ‘The Bad Beginning’ from cover to cover in one sitting.

This book focuses on the first stage of the Baudelaire’s misery, the death of their parents and their stay with Count Olaf. The sinister and greedy villain who plots and schemes to steal the children’s immense fortune is one of the highlights of the series as his continual reappearances and somewhat wacky disguises allow enough absurdity into the story to relieve the reader of the depressing events in the lives of the orphans. He’s an incredibly interesting character who is, especially in this first book, purely and simply a bad man and a good villain. His frequent outbursts at the children, including striking Klaus in the face and threatening them on numerous occasions, all adds together to establish him as a brilliant overarching villain who the reader can feel safe in hating throughout.

In this book, Olaf’s dastardly plot is to steal the children’s fortune involved marrying Violet (who is 14) onstage in a theatrical production that would secretly double as a real wedding. This sinister scheme is one of the main events that, for me, makes Count Olaf such a brilliant character. He has absolutely no thoughts about anything other than getting his hands on the money and manages to find a way to get it in the most Olaf way possible- an awful play in front of everyone so he can not only show off his acting “prowess” and make a little money from ticket sales but also have an audience to brag to about his genius after. That sort of narcissistic self indulgent arrogance is what makes the Count such a brilliantly entertaining character.

Basically, this series is one of my absolute favourites and it’s been such a genuine treat to reread the books I love so much. If there’s any advice I can give to someone who’s had a bad day, it’s to sit down with one of your favourite books and enjoy the comfort of a familiar tale and the nostalgia of the good times you had reading it.



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