book review, children's, middlegrade

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (Mini Review)

izsottmTitle: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
Author: Lemony Snicket
Type: Fiction
Genre: Suspense
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date published: September 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 176
Source: Publisher

A physical copy of the book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: 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


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My sister read this entire series when we were both much younger, yet somehow, I managed to never pick any of these books up until this past month! Don’t get me wrong, I’d been wanting to read these books for a while, but just never seemed to find the right time, or the right amount of motivation to do so. When HarperCollins contacted me about whether I wanted to read the first book in preparation for the release of the Netflix original series based on the books, I could not say no. It was finally time.


They sent me the book, and I found that I quite enjoyed it! Despite it being a middle grade book, and my usually being unable to click with books in this age grouping, I found that I really liked the note of this narrative. Unlike some other middle grade books, the narrator addressed the audience with a great degree of respect, despite the assumption that most of the audience would be quite young, and there were also some very useful vocabulary lessons peppered throughout the story. I liked how vocabulary was introduced to readers in a way that wasn’t superior, but rather as an explanation from equal to equal.

The plot itself is also quite good, and the mystery can be intriguing to even the most grown up of adults. The story flowed steadily in the first book, and I found the pacing to be smooth and enjoyable. The characters were also equal parts amusing and infuriating, while the dialogue between them all felt quite natural (at all times) despite some of the unusual circumstances taking place in this eerie and mysterious tale.

Overall, I recommend this book to children, teens, and adults alike!



Lemony Snicket claims he was nowhere near the scene of the crime. He is the author of several other unpleasant stories, including those in the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Lump of Coal.


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12 thoughts on “A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (Mini Review)

    1. Ahhh that’s great! I saw a few episodes when it first came out, but then got busy with other things. Then I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read the rest of the books first, or finish the Netflix series first XD hahaha

  1. I read the first 3 books in the series when I was younger when I was in elementary school, I believe, but I had to switch schools and when I did that I think I decided to read Harry Potter and then I just never picked it up again until about two years ago when I went on an internet scavenger hunt for the books and found the entire series on ebay for pretty cheap. Now I’m halfway through the series. I read the first half last year and I think I will read at least 3 of them this year. I am loving the Netflix series, it’s just amazing.

    1. That’s so great! I’m glad you were able to find them and read most of them! I’m also glad your’e enjoying the Netflix series! Would you recommend that I read the books first? Or watch the series first?

      1. Well the TV show is quite similar to the books (they’ve done such a wonderful job with sticking true to the books) but also, at the ending of the first episode something was revealed that I had no idea about. I’m not sure if it’s part of the books that is revealed at the very end of the series or whatnot but I would recommend reading the first four books at least before watching the first season. Every two episodes covers a single book.

  2. I first read ASOUE when there were only four books available and I still enjoy rereading them. I sometime I wonder what I would think of the books if I had read them for the first time as an adult – good to know my love for these books is justified 😛 (and not just a holdover from childhood, haha).

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